Stuff readers ask me: What’s your writing process?

One of my very favorite things about being an indie author is the contact I have with readers. Unlike people who choose to go the traditionally published route, I don’t have an agent who fields my correspondence. When you email me, you literally get me. If I write a response to you (and I always will, until I’m so damn popular that I physically don’t have enough hours in the day!), the person writing that response is me. Guaranteed.

Readers give me all sorts of cool feedback. They also ask me all sorts of questions. One of the questions I get most often is: What’s your writing process/schedule? Do you wait for inspiration to hit, or do you have a set schedule you stick to?

I’ll probably write more about this at some point in the future, but today, I’ll give you the basics.

What’s my writing process?

Step One: Write.

Step Two: See step one.

That might sound simplistic, or snarky, or… I dunno, like a non-answer. But the fact is, this is pretty much true.

The only way to write, is to write. At least for me. I treat writing as a full-time job. Which means for me that I write every weekday, Monday through Friday, and take the weekends off. During the week, I sit down and write. I have a set number of words that I aim for. Even if I’m not in the mood. Even if I feel like inspiration isn’t hitting me. Because most of the time, once I start, inspiration does hit. (Or if not inspiration, then at least a few good ideas!)

Let me tell you a little Daphne Story. In a past life, before I took the plunge to writing full-time, I earned a graduate degree in a field that’s kinda-sorta related to writing but not really. One of the things most people have to do in order to earn an advanced degree is to write a long research project. A master’s thesis clocks in at around 70-80 pages long. A doctoral dissertation can be up to 200 pages, or even more.

I was, understandably, freaking out a little bit about this project. I mean, I’d written papers in college, of course, but never anything even close to that long. And my adviser gave me the best piece of writing advice I’ve ever gotten.

He said, “Write one page a day.”

That’s it. One page a day.

Because at that rate, you can have a draft of a master’s thesis in three months.

I took his advice. It was a lot less intimidating than thinking about writing a whole huge paper.

And what I found was, quite often, once I’d written one page, I decided to go a little further and write another. And another.

I finished my paper in record time, and probably with a lot less angst than a lot of my grad school friends who were struggling along with me.

I’ve remembered that advice ever since. And whenever I start to get overwhelmed, I just remember:

How do you write?

By writing.

 

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