Writing methods that work…or don’t

I came across a great set of articles on writing today as I searched for some inspiration. I’ve read them all before, but rereading them has been inspiring. I’m still not sure why, but reading how-to’s still get me going. I never want to write more than when I’m reading someone else’s ideas of the perfect writing method. It’s all baloney of course, but nevertheless, I love it. (Not the articles, but the idea that there are any two writers who ever do the same thing to produce their written work.)

Each of us has to focus on the methods that work for us. When I read advice about the writing process, I want to believe that it will work for me. But most of the time it doesn’t. Most of the time it’s not going to work for you either.

My own method is a hodge podge of all the advice I’ve read and been given over the years. Some of the things I do go against some very common writing advice. Take the first draft for instance. For me, there’s no such thing. Despite all the people who swear by it, I absolutely can not write an entire book without editing it as I write it line by line.

Of all the books I’ve completed, the only thing they have in common is that I edited as I went. I mean heavy editing. I got my scene down and I got it down solid before I moved on to the next scene. For me this is the only way I can complete a book.

Zipping through to the end creates an uncontrollable panic in me. I’ve made it so far as a few thousand words from the end, but looking back at the mess I’ve created–I become overwhelmed at the work it’ll take to shape it up into a readable story. I lose my way and the story loses its appeal. I abandon good ideas and some solid writing, because I can’t bear to look at it and think about the undone threads. How can I ever trace them all back and pull it together into a cohesive blob? OVERWHELMED just scratches the surface of my feelings.

Pleasure is my motivator for writing, and I find pleasure in molding my story as I go. I have no problems adding plot twists or weaving threads into my books, but I have to do it in the moment, not some weeks or months down the road when I’ve forgotten all the implications of those changes.

I did have a point when I started this piece. My point being only that just as each of our brains fire differently, our writing methods do the same. We’re all different, and how we write reflects that basic truth.

Read articles and tips on writing, apply them and then stick with the ones that work for you. And don’t be afraid to ignore good advice, because my good advice could be your next book’s downfall.

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