Since the illustrious Heather McCorkle will be off being proactive this week, I'm going to try my hand at hosting Thursday's WritersRoad chat on Twitter, hence the unexpected and not-related-to-TeaserTuesday-post. Sorry, Judy. I'm still editing and actually making process! :)
It was brought to my attention that many times in our chats, our focus tends to drift toward the act of publishing rather than the skill of writing. Don't get me wrong, I adore all of our topics and chats and I find that the process each published writer takes toward publication is fascinating. It can offer invaluable information for anyone just setting out on the publication journey. But I think as Heather's last post and our last chat demonstrated, the foundation of writing should be more important than the 'business' of publishing and/or the business of establishing a writing platform. With that in mind, this week, I'd like to discuss how to build that foundation by exploring our individual writing routines.
Every writer has a different modus operandi when it comes to laying the basis of their work. Some of you may be early risers and prefer be up before the sun sets to knock out the next Great American/Australian/Canadian/Irish/Scottish/Vulcan Novel. Kudos to you all! I find your ability to wake up and write enviable.
Others, like yours truly, need the still quiet of a sleeping home or the soft whirl of a Cappuccino machine to awaken our muses. Do you use a laptop or PC or is freehand the only way you're able to kick the muse in gear? Can you only write at night and on weekends because, like me, you're stuck in the Seventh Circle of Corporate Hell? Do you steal company time and flesh out plot and character development while your boss' door is shut during lunch? (Guilty of that one).
The point of asking all of this is to illustrate a routine; that indelible little method you implement to get your fingers moving and breath inserted into your characters and their world.
I believe that a routine is the spark that ignites a story's foundation. It is the intrinsic necessity that is required of the writer, the method by which we get the ball rolling.
Now, not everyone will agree with me. Many writers view the creative process as 'feast or famine' in that when they're writing it is thousands of words and hundreds of pages at a time. During the famine, not a single word makes it onto the page for months. That, I think, may be the last luxury of the unpublished writer. Once publication happens, those moments of famine seems to disappear. Or so I've been told.
For me, deadlines are key. I love pressure. I love the anxiety of thinking I just might not make my deadline. I love the idea of sitting down and thundering out something while the minutes slip by too quickly. I thrive on it and, oddly enough, it's when my best work is born. Lord knows that's how I survived graduate school.
Ultimately, I think the way your routine functions isn't nearly as important as the organization and commitment you put into it. My advice (which I'm trying to apply to my own routine) is to make certain your process is attempted at least once a day. I believe that writing, for a true writer and not the writing hobbyist, is make writing a part of your daily tasks. (Though I don't think 'task' is quite the right word). It should be as commonplace to you as brushing your teeth and cleaning behind your ears. If you are a writer, if your intention is to express your passion in written art, then it is necessary to make it a part of your everyday life. If you do that, I think the groundwork for your writing foundation can be laid and though it might not be an easy or convenient process, it is one that directs how strong and sound that foundation becomes.