August 2nd, 2008

Book Book Book

My new philosophy

I've mentioned this before -- over the past year or so I've really been struggling with my own writing process.

Once I realized that yes, I really might have a chance at becoming a professional author (and especially once I got an agent and a contract), I really began to question whether my writing method was solid enough to sustain a long-term career. Many of my writing habits seemed to run contrary to the advice I kept reading from more experienced authors online, and it made me doubt myself severely.

So I started trying on other writers' methods, to see if any of them might fit. First Draft in 30 Days. The Snowflake Method. Fast Draft. I was determined to give each of these my very best try, not to give up until I was certain they weren't for me. I took to heart Anne Lamott's famous dictum about embracing the crappy first draft, and forging onward until that draft was done before starting to revise. I made up outlines and spreadsheets to keep track of my plot, and filled out questionnaires and drew emotional maps to try and understand my characters. I committed myself to writing a certain number of words every day, and completing at least one chapter every week. And when I met those goals, I was relieved -- sometimes even proud.

But I wasn't happy.

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So I've come up with a new motto for the next phase of my writing career:

Write something.

That's it. Every day, I will sit down and write something. Might be ten words, might be a thousand; might be editing or revising or totally new material, doesn't matter. I've turned off Word Count and I've stopped marking chapter goals on my calendar. And after just a week of writing without that pressure, I can't tell you how much better I feel... or how much happier I am with what I've written.

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So that's where I'm at these days. It's been a rough haul, but I think I'm doing okay.

Now I'm going off to camp with the fam until next Friday, so if you post something earthshattering on your LJ and I don't comment, you'll know why. Have a good week, everybody!