Writing and How I Do It

For some reason, one of the most frequent questions I get, and I assume many other writers get as well, is about my writing process.
How many words do you write?
Morning or night?
Or the most horrible of all questions, the root of every writing evil, where do you get your ideas from?
I understand this desire to know. I’ve followed a lot of different writers that I admire and tried to learn about their writing process, the different tips and tricks, and idiosyncrasies that separate us all from one another. I’ve searched these things from both a writer and a reader perspective.
A long time ago, a family member of mine commented that they didn’t believe that Stephen King could write as much as he did. There was no way he was able to write out these massive novels and put out at least two a year. At the time, I didn’t know anything about Stephen King’s writing process, but I did hold him high in regard and was eager to defend his writing because I knew it was possible. I was doing just that.
One thing I can always say to my fellow writers is that writer’s block does not exist and that writing is like a muscle. The more you work out, the better and stronger it gets. Every day since I was at least twelve, I have been writing. Always writing on one thing or the other, even if simply only in my head, because even when a writer isn’t physically writing, we’re doing the job mentally because half of writing is living and the other half is putting that life on paper in some shape or form.
I know a lot of people disagree when it comes to writer’s block, but my answer to that is that you can’t be blocked if you’re able to write something. That feeling of not being able to write isn’t because you can’t. It’s because you’re either afraid or too lazy to try. I can assure you. Place a pen in your hands and you’ll write. Place your fingers on the keyboard and you’ll write. Sit in front of a typewriter and you will write. All you have to do is take the first step.
As for how many words I write, my answer will be different from a lot of other writers and of no importance whatsoever mainly because my number is a goal rather than a constant reality. I shoot for 2,000 words every day. Sometimes I don’t make it. Sometimes I surpass it. It all depends on the circumstances. Am I busy that day? Am I eager to work on my current project? Am I finishing or just beginning a project? Am I procrastinating and surfing the internet for why birds don’t get electrocuted when they sit on power lines? A bunch of different factors goes into a number of words I put on a page daily, but the most important part to me isn’t the quantity but the quality. Even if I only wrote one sentence, did that sentence mean something to me? Was it the best I could do? Did I give that one sentence my all? If the answer is yes, it was a good writing day and I can justify it to myself.
I write in the morning, typically with a bag of Doritos, a Dr. Pepper, and a playlist full of rock and gangsta rap. Personally, I love having music that drowns out everything else around me because when the real world is tuned out, the writing doors open up for me and I find that hole in the page that I can sink into and disappear for a while. That’s not to say I won’t get distracted. I have four fur babies that constantly want attention, but they also give me time to reflect and think about my next move or question something that may have slipped my mind while writing.
Which brings me to another point: NEVER EDIT UNTIL YOU’RE FINISHED.
This seems to be a rule that always comes as a shock when I tell a friend, but one that has been a tremendous help for me. I used to edit every chapter when I was through. The moment I was done, I was reading over it, checking spelling, grammar, and plot lines. While I was writing, I would read over my sentences while I was thinking.
What it did was give me grief. I would over analyze everything I had written because I didn’t know what was going to happen next (I should probably mention that I’m a Pantser when it comes to writing. Look it up, writing newbies). That would cause fear and that fear would eventually turn into a half-finished novel that didn’t know what it wanted to be.
My advice is always the same. Write the book. Don’t read over what you’ve written, don’t edit what you’re writing, just write. Write everything. Everything that comes to mind, no matter what it sounds like, just write it down and keep writing until you’ve finished telling the story. Then, forget about it. Start on a new idea. Look over old work. Sit under the stars and think about your next book. Usually, I write another book, using the same process, and then I set that manuscript to the side and pick up the previous one.
The wonderful thing about doing it that way is that you come back with fresh eyes. I will guarantee that you won’t remember every single detail about the book. You come back almost as a reader instead, experiencing as they will and, in doing so, it becomes a lot easier to know what needs to be cut, what needs to be rewritten, and what should stay.
And as for where my ideas come from, you’ll have to ask them.
I’m just the writer.

3 thoughts on “Writing and How I Do It

  1. Hi Christy,
    Great post, really awesome advice and introspection.
    I do firmly agree with you, writing is a muscle that can be trained.
    I remember when I was first struggling to write, 4-5 years ago. It was fanfiction and I would always get a couple of chapters in and then falter. It was because I went back and Edited, which stopped my flow. It wasn’t until three years ago when I watched Brandon Sanderson and his lectures that I discovered the ability to ignore my inner Editer and just write.
    Anyway I wish you all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I started with fanfiction as well! I would post on fanfiction.net and allowing people to review my work back then was how I learned a lot about grammar and spelling mistakes, as well as finding my own style of writing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Christy,
        I think a lot of people start that way, it’s like rite of passage 🙂
        I learned a lot during those years and will continue to learn more in the future.
        All the best to you.


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