The back page of each issue of The Writer magazine is devoted to a feature called “How I Write.” Authors give you a glimpse into their writing routines and styles. For example, the September 2012 issue features novelist Lauren Fox.
Fox has two small children so she writes whenever she can, she says. (Makes me feel better to know other writers cram their writing life into their “regular” lives.) Fox goes on to explain how she prefers to use outlines and enjoys writing first-person because it is “immediate and intimate.”
In the May issue,Tawni O’Dell says she doesn’t have a writing routine and that she spends as much time thinking as she does writing. “It takes me at least two years of struggling with my characters and story to complete a novel.” (Again, I feel much better!)
O’Dell also says her books are character-driven and she begins the writing process focused on the characters, not a plot. She doesn’t outline and she takes very few notes.
These two women have very different writing styles, but they have figured out what works best for them.
Have you stopped to think about how you write and what kind of writer you are (or aspire to be)? If you find yourself struggling or trying to fit a preconceived notion of a “writer,” stop and think about how you work best. Are you an early morning writer? Do you make outlines or notes? Do you like to fill the computer screen with words and scenes, worrying about tying it all together later? Any combination of those is correct.
Don’t make outlines if you hate outlines. Don’t try to work at 8 p.m. knowing full well you’re at your best at 7 a.m. How do you write? Let’s hear about your routines and your process, remembering each of us is different and each of us is right.