A Writing Life: Do What Works For You

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Do What Works For You

It's pretty easy to find writing advice. There's a plethora of it out there. And I think it's good to get advice. But sometimes it can be overwhelming. 

Over the years, I've gone to countless conferences and read many books on writing. And I've gleaned some highly valuable information from those sources. I used to hear the way an author worked and would go, "Yes! I'm doing that!" And I would try it for a while. But many times it was like trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. I only ended up frustrated instead of productive. 

I've been doing this writing thing long enough to have figured out a few things that work for me:

1) I work well two hours at a time. I have writer friends who carry their laptops or iPads or whatever with them and can write for ten minutes here, twenty minutes there. I can't. Maybe for a blog or something shorter, but not a novel. When I'm working on a book, I'm most productive scheduling two hour time blocks. I turn off my phone, close the door, and focus. Now, if things are flowing and working, I go more than two hours. It's not set in stone. What IS set in stone is that two hours. 

2) I do a certain amount of words per chapter and a certain amount per writing session. I know exactly how many words I can do in that two hour time block. I know my minimum and maximum word count I can hit and I know if I make the writing session happen, the work gets done. Book get written. I've mentioned in a previous blog post that the app, Wordly, helps me keep track of word count as well as writing time. 

3) I'm a pantser and a plotter. I plot a little, then pants it. Plot a little, then pants it. I use an app on my iPad called Corkulous. It's a cork board where I can map out my chapters and place post its on it with scene ideas and little notes I need to remember about my characters. 

I hopefully have a lot of writing years left in me. And I am certain I will learn different ways to do things that will work for me along the way. But I don't believe there is only one way to do this. No "right" way in terms of what makes you productive in a day. The bottom line is, find what works for you and do that. 

1 comment:

  1. Loved every last bit of this Lara, thank you for sharing!!