azhure: (me phoenix)

IMG_20140703_180224

You see that picture?  That’s what wordcounts for writing every day look like.

I don’t want to harp on about the Magic Spreadsheet too much, but I do want to spend a bit of time actually making note of how I’m working on my writing process, and right now, it’s part of it.

I’ve always kind of flailed about a bit with my writing process.  I’ve logged wordcounts for a while, but I inevitably forget to note down one day, and then it’s all gone to hell.  I’ve worked for periods of time without logging wordcounts.  I’ve gotten some stuff done – I’ve finished a novel (currently trunked), I’ve finished short stories and novelettes.

But – as anyone who gets to talk to me about writing will tell you – I’ve always despaired of being too damn slow.  At the moment, I’m writing a first draft of Never, and I needed to break myself out of the habit of fiddling about too much with small parts of it.  I’m not the kind of writer who can produce a wonderful first draft, and I need to accept that, and accept, too, that my time is better spent on redrafting and editing rather than trying to get it all down on the page the first time.

As a side note, I know that authors exist who can write really clean first drafts.  I salute them and their brains.  Maybe in time, when I’ve worn the grooves in my brain enough, I’ll be able to produce better first drafts.

Which is to say that I am allowing myself to write what is possibly one of the worst first drafts ever.  I am not deleting anything, but I am simply pushing on every day to make my word count.  I’ll go back and add notes in previous chapters of things that need to be added, but that’s all.

As you’ll see, this last week I have been sick.  Yet another damn respiratory infection (yay having a kid at kindy for the first time and being moderately immunosuppressed).  And I have still been writing.  I am kind of scared to look at the words for those really sick days, but I’m thinking of them as a framework.  A skeleton which I’m going to flesh out in the next draft.  It’s forward motion, baby, and I feel like I’m actually getting somewhere.

As I type this, I’ve just crested 70k on this draft.  Glancing at the magic spreadsheet, which handily collates these things for me, I’ve written 77, 720 words since starting with the spreadsheet on May 25th.  Yes, some of those words were discarded (bad writer, no cookie).  And it’s going to take me a good while to hammer this into good enough shape to get sent to some beta readers, but it’s a start.  And I’ll take that.

 

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (dreaming tree)

As of today, I have finished a rough sketch of my outline of Never.

I will probably mess about with the outline a bit more tomorrow, especially the ending, but as it stands, I have a framework for this book that makes sense.  Whether it stays the same once I start writing it another thing entirely, of course.

I am going to take a little time to do some more reading about story structure before I start writing in earnest.  This is a very different process for me (and probably one that many people would disagree with).  I’ve always been an organic writer, and given enough time, I prefer writing that way.  But as we all know, time is a thing that I don’t have an excess of these days.

I’m actually really enjoying trying something different.  We’ll see if it pans out once I start the actual writing.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (dreaming tree)

These last few weeks I’ve been struggling to write.

Some of this is due to a change in meds and a teething baby who has interrupted my sleep.  Some of this is due to normal human suit issues making it difficult for me to concentrate for long.

Last night, while pondering, I figured out what most of it is from.

A while ago, I made the realisation that I was moving from being a pantser to a plotter.  I’ve always traditionally found my story through multiple drafts.  Which has always been fine, when I’ve had the time to spend on drafting and redrafting.

But now?  My time is very limited, and will continue to be so for a long time to come.  And I’ve fallen back into he habit of pantsing.  Which has become very frustrating, since I’m just working on the same thing and feeling like I’m not getting anywhere at all.

And so.  It’s time for me to sit down and do some heavy duty plotting.  Which means that I’m going to be taking things pretty easy for the rest of the year and probably brushing up on some outlining techniques and the like.

This makes me curious about the writers I know – are you a pantser or a plotter?  And how does this relate to how much writing time you have?

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (Default)

I expect that you’re all heartily tired of me posting about Nanowrimo by now.  If so, feel free to skip this post.

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing in general as well about Nanowrimo.  And I think that the issues I’ve been having with Nano have nothing to do with Nano at all.

I truly do enjoy doing Nano.  I like being part of a group all striving towards the same goal.  I like the competition.  I like being “given” the freedom to just churn out words without editing, to be able to explore new words without overthinking everything.  I think Nano is an awesome thing, and I admire everyone who has a go at it, whether they make 50k or not.  You’re all awesome, whether you’re an established writer who’s churning out a draft or if you just want to play in the word mines for the first time and see if you *can* do it.

In retrospect, Nano couldn’t have come at a worse time for me.  Not only do I have baby brain and late-pregnancy exhaustion, I’ve also had workmen in the house for most of this week.  Plus I only finished a draft of another novel last week – something that always requires some time in between just refilling the well before I can tackle another big project.

So.  The plan is to take a step back into another mode of writing.  To refill the well by reading a lot, to do some planning and outlining of Never (I’m seriously contemplating writing a full outline and synopsis this time, just because it’s something that I haven’t done before and I’m curious to see if the process works for me).  I may still do some writing, and I will very possibly do a good deal of posting about writing process.  I just want to take it as it comes for a little while and stop stressing myself out about it all.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (Default)

I’m curious – for all the writers who read this, are you a pantser or a outliner?  What is your process?

(I have a post brewing on my own process, it will be forthcoming when I have the time and mental energy)

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (Default)

Why I write

“It’s amazing and heartening how many people want to be writers. Like all writers, I’m frequently asked about process. Process is different for everybody. When I’m really in a book I work seven days a week, three to six hours a day, starting when I first get up. I write every day because I’m not capable of writing eight hours straight. If I were I would skip the weekends. A girlfriend once told me she had good news. She didn’t have to work on Wednesday; we could spend the whole day together. She didn’t think of me as someone with a job. It made me happy. I kissed her a bunch of times and told her I couldn’t see her on Wednesday.”

I am fascinated by writing process and routine.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately – about why the routine I have works for me.  About why routine, full stop, works for me.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about treating writing as a job.  Which is what I try to do.  I commit to making my wordcount every weekday – most of the time I accomplish this by sitting down at the same time each day, but life often means that I need to be flexible with this.  And clearly, I’m going to have to learn to be even more flexible.

My point is this: right now, writing is my job.  Writing for me means getting my wordcount as well as reading and reviewing.  Reading includes reading books (including review books), forums and writing and writer’s blogs.

I find it really difficult to say no to people who want me to do social things during the week.  If I can arrange my schedule so that I can still get my work done and then have time to catch up with friends, then it’s awesome.  Frequently, that just isn’t going to happen.  I cope with this by pretty much hermitting and fobbing off people who want to catch up.  Which isn’t the best way to deal with it.  I need to set my own rules and boundaries and damn well stick to them.

So, a declaration: writing is my job.  Just as someone on a salary doesn’t get to take time off just because they feel like it, neither can I.  There are going to be exceptions, of course, and this is by no means an accusation that anyone has been pressuring me to take time off to see them.  It’s just me stating where I need to be right now.  And that’s committing to writing as a career.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

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sister awakened

January 2017

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