For as many writers as there are, there are equally as many processes. This is why it always grates on my nerves when people tell you there is only one way to write. Spoiler: there’s not. You can write in a beautiful journal while floating on a boat in the middle of a lake; you can write on a cocktail napkin while in a karaoke bar; you can scribble on the back of a receipt while in the pick up line at school; you can write on a typewriter, an iPad, your phone, a laptop, an ancient desktop, Post-It notes, a spiral notebook from the Dollar Spot, a waterproof pad in the shower, your hand if you’re really desperate…
I think you get my point.
We each have a way that works best for us, usually something we’ve figured out through some sort of trial and error. I’m going to tell you what works for me. If you’re able to pick up a single tip and add it to your toolbox, great! If not, that’s cool too. You do you, boo.
First things first: Pinterest
Before I do anything at all, I go trolling on Pinterest. I need to have a visual representation of my characters before I can delve into anything else. I like to add their pictures (several, if I’m honest…some casual, some laughing, some serious, and of course bare chest pics of the hero) to Scrivener so I can see them as I move on to my next steps.
Speaking of…next up: Character Questionnaires
I’m not going to go into great detail about these, because I’ve done so lots of times before, but I would be lost without my questionnaires. They allow me to get to the nitty gritty of my characters and see what makes them tick.
Once I know that? Let’s plot.
Uh-oh. The dreaded P word. Yep, I’m a plotter. I’ve tried probably a dozen different approaches when it comes to plotting, because I’m always looking for a more efficient way to do things. As such, I’ve developed a process that works pretty well for me, which is a combination of several different techniques, including the Snowflake Method, Tentpole Method, Beat Sheets, and old school outlining.
Now that all that’s out of the way, it’s time to for music!
I switch between Pandora and Spotify, depending on if I have specific songs I want or rather just a certain feel of the music. I like to switch things up with each manuscript, but I have a hard time picking out songs for my characters specifically. Music is more about an overall feeling to me than something easily pinpointed, so I just roll with it.
Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Writing.
Once I’ve got all those things in order and am ready to dive into my new project, I do so by participating in Pomodoros (pomos for short). They are short bursts of work followed by small breaks. I prefer 25 min work/5 min break, then a longer 30 minute break once I reach 6 sessions. After testing my productivity, I found this allows me to get nearly double the words in an hour as I would if I wrote straight for that hour. It doesn’t matter the time of day or where I am (though strategically adjusting any mess in my house so it’s out of eyesight is imperative to me). I’m one of the lucky people who can write at home, at a coffee house, at a park, outside, inside, wherever. Just so long as I’ve got my earbuds, I’m good to go.
See anything you do, too? Anything I should think about adding to my routine?