Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lessons from my drafting process

So a while ago I finished the rough draft of my manuscript. It was pretty sweet. Then someone asked me about my drafting process. This was both awesome and horrifying because suddenly it seemed like the world had deemed me qualified to answer such a question. I definitely don't feel qualified!

And when I considered the answer, I realized that my drafting process is kind of a mess.

I munch on junk food of all sorts. I waste time researching random crap on the internet (ie: flowers) when I should be focusing on my work. I spend an embarrassing amount of time staring at my Twitter feed and urging it to update. I'm a lazy plotter, so when my outline is sparse I bemoan my woes and whine at Boyfriend until he tells me to stop being a drama queen. I avoid reading blog posts because I'm supposed to be writing, but then I don't write, and then I don't get anything productive done.

Unfortunately, most of these things aren't very helpful. Not to you, not to me, not to anyone. However, after some immense consideration, I managed to weed out what I think are the most important bits of my drafting process.
  1. I wrote (almost) everyday
    This is helpful in two ways. The obvious is the fact that you're always getting something done on your WIP be it 10 words or 10,000 words. The not-so-obvious is that writing everyday makes it so you're thinking about your story all the time. Not only does this make it easier and faster to get in the zone, but your writing sessions become more productive. Also, for my first several months of drafting I wrote at the same time everyday, which helps cement the routine.

  2. I sucked it up
    It's very easy to whine about writing. I am particularly whiny about writing. Those of you who follow me on Twitter understand this firsthand, considering that I make exasperated comments with each chapter I write. Writing breaks are important sometimes, but the other 90% of your time should be spent writing. You don't want to? You'd rather work on something else? Suck it up.

  3. I set myself a scary goal
    I also told you guys about it to round myself up a nice big dose of accountability. If you have a goal--a realistic one--you start producing more and quicker. Especially if there are prizes at the end. Because prizes rock. Just look at NaNoWriMo, it's the ultimate goal-setting challenge for writers and thousands of people finish every year. 
There are my three tips. They're pretty basic, but I think they're pretty important. What do you guys think? What's your drafting process like? Do you have any other important tips? Or are you a big fan of the crappy process parts too? Tell me in the comments.


Brenna Braaten said...

I need to write more every day. *sigh* I need more hours in the day.

Sarah Robertson said...

As many other writerly people seem to say: "MAKE THEM." But yeah, length of time isn't as important as long as you're actually being productive ... and some days won't be productive. But if you write often and a lot, it should be easier to just sit down and be in the zone.

Brenna Braaten said...

I agree. And I have been more productive lately. Sot that's good. But I am in serious lack of time. I barely had time for dinner yesterday.

Sara Reine said...

Scary goals work, but it's so stressful. My scary goals right now are two books at once (!!!). It's nuts. You wouldn't even believe it.

Sarah Robertson said...

Ugh, I definitely agree. I totally wish you luck though! That sounds crazy (and crazy stressful too), but I'm sure you'll pull through. :)

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