As writers we have all kinds of choices to make. Here are a few that I’ve gone through:
-Outline or seat of the pants – to outline before writing or just sit down and let it flow. I have tried various points on this spectrum and find that a basic outline works best for me. From there I find the story always goes in directions I wouldn’t have predicted, but I still have a basic framework to work from.
-Time of day to write – I’m a morning person and have gravitated to writing in the morning. I take a walk in the middle of the day to exercise, take a mental break and brainstorm, and then do administrative work, social networking and editing in the afternoon.
-Writing in dribs and drabs or extended periods – when I worked full time, I’d do a small amount of writing in the morning before going to my day job. I adapted a technique from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and used her Morning Pages concept to write three handwritten pages every morning. When I got home from work, I’d do an editing pass and enter these into my computer, typically producing two typed pages. If you do the arithmetic, if I stuck with it, I’d have the draft for a 300 page novel in 150 days. Now that I’ve retired into fiction writing, I dedicate the whole morning to writing except when I have events or am traveling.
- Editing as you go or after a rough draft – although I reread and do some revisions along the way, my main editing is after I’ve completed my rough draft. Then I go through numerous passes: content, consistency, word choice, grammar, repetitive (pet) words and reading it aloud.
-Clean desk vs. messy desk – For the Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of America chapter, we recently submitted pictures of our workspace. There was the whole range from neat to messy. I am a folder person, so I keep stacks and cabinet drawers full of file folders. My desk has two stacks of folders with a clean space in between to work, with my computer on the other side of an “L.”
Find what works for you and go with it.