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What’s Your Writing Process?
Contributor
Written by
She Writes
February 2018
Contributor
Written by
She Writes
February 2018

There are so many ways writers can dive into their stories. For some, the writing process is almost spiritual. For others, writing can be an excruciating chore. Which of these great authors are you most like?

Writing and Revising

“Ideas for stories are often off the cuff—something I observe or overhear that was striking enough for me to make note of. I’ll jot down some thoughts, or an opening line may pop into my head. A good opening line sets the tone for what I’m about to write, but nothing happens until I get a handle on the characters. In essence, I plunge in, envisioning a sequence of scenes, sometimes mapping them. Little by little, the characters reveal more about themselves and where the story is headed. Sometimes I have a sense of how the story will end but more often what keeps me interested is puzzling it out. To quote E. L. Doctorow, ‘It’s like driving at night: you never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ Then of course you’re faced with making that trip again and again. It’s called revision.”
Deborah Batterman, author of Just Like February

“My writing process depends on writing first drafts quickly and with no revision, then consulting my journals for context (If I am writing historically), then revising. If I’m in a writing group, I ask for comments and feedback, then revise again and again. I present many of my short pieces at conferences; speaking helps me hear the flow of the language, and I remember where the audience responded. Then I rewrite some more! I often write first drafts late at night, but do all my reflecting and revising in the morning and afternoon.”
– Joyce Lynnette Hocker, The Trail to Tincup: Love Stories at Life’s End

Agonizing

“I agonize; I handwrite a rough draft; I revise over and over, while continuing to agonize. And I wonder why I write.”
– Wanda Maureen Miller, author of Last Trip Home

Early Rising

“I’m almost in a dream state when a story is flowing effortlessly. I have noticed that my best work happens when I first wake up between six thirty and eight and I’m in bed with my coffee but still sleepy. At that point I’m interrupted by the whimpering of our three dogs who want to be fed breakfast.

Later in the day, I block out time when I’m not teaching or developing curriculum to write. Timelines are important to me. The process is totally disciplined unless there is some kind of family emergency, which has happened. Each day includes hiking, obtaining and cooking healthy food from scratch, endless glasses of water and hours working on my laptop.”
Mary Kathleen Mehuron, author of The Opposite of Never

"Before I am fully awake, thoughts of my current project are already simmering. During this early part of the day, I am totally focused on my story. I go for a long walk, have breakfast, and then park myself at the computer. Checking e-mail, social media and the like are set aside until I have written the scene or scenes that I have been rolling around in my head. I do not work on a set word count. Some days I write 500 words and other days I might write 5,000. When I get to the point where I am not absolutely loving the what I write, I know it is time to stop, or take a nice long break and come back refreshed.

I love being on Facebook, but try to discipline myself. Once I get on there chatting with friends and fans, it becomes much more difficult to get back to work."
–  Bette Lee Crosby, author of The Summer of New Beginnings

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