Creating an Effective Writing Process
Contributor

My better half is a builder, and he is not a whap it, tap it, slap it kind of worker. He is a craftsman, who built our home with reclaimed oak floors, spacious windows to let in the light, and an eye for detail. He could see our house before it existed, and his job was bringing it life. After watching his process first hand, I knew: his best clients will appreciate quality, not the fastest, cheapest work.

I've realized something similar about my own writing. While the newspaper industry taught me to write fast and on a deadline, I have not transferred those skills to my short stories and novel writing. I don't want to.

When I write those pieces, I see images and scenes in my mind. Part of the fun is figuring out how to write them so that readers can see them too. I'm not, it turns out, a whap it, tap it, slap it kind of writer.

I'm sharing some shifts I made recently to my own writing life. Eight shifts that have helped me write more, write better and have more fun doing it. Here's number 3 (you can find the first one here):

Shift #3: Own your writing process

I write several drafts of the same story to get to know the characters and figure out what happens. Doing so lets my writing become more than a story; it can embody a feeling or emotion and impart it to my reader. I also take downtime between drafts so I can see my writing clearly, and catch the things I missed before. That means that some types of goals don't work for me.

For example, I never set out to write every day or write 1,000 words at a time. I don't challenge myself to write a certain number of stories per year, and I don't measure progress by the quantity of writing I have at the end of the year. 

I set my goals based on the piece itself: Get to know a new character. Write a first draft. Figure out what happens next. Read what I've written to see what's there. As a result, I've had to change the way I acknowledge success.

Instead of celebrating speed or output, I celebrate getting a story to a place I never imagined. Or having my writing partner tell me she reached the end of a section and tried to keep scrolling because she wanted to read more.

In other words, I've adapted my expectations to my process instead of expecting my process to change. 

So what about you? Grab a pen and paper and try this prompt: 

Describe your writing process. What kind of writer are you?

I'd love to hear in the comments what kind of writer you are in the comments or you can find me on facebook.

P.S. Ready for a writing breakthrough? Break free from writing rules that don't work and find your way with my FREE three-part series: Inside the Writers Mind. The first insight (and writing prompt) could be yours today.

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