In the spirit of Janet Evanovich's insightful writing guide "How I Write", I give you "How Kristin Writes." (My small writing in the corner should read "Secrets of an Unpublished Author"...but hopefullly not for long.)
Keep in mind, I've only been writing paranormal romantic suspense for a little over a year. I've written two complete novels (both 80,000 words), and am knee-deep in the third (currently at 10,000 words). I can't speak for everyone, or what works and what doesn't because I've yet to join the publishing ranks. But someone asked me today what a day writing is like for me.
I wake up and make coffee. Half a pot. It's gone soon thereafter.
I check my email (in case Mr. or Mrs. Dream Agent couldn't put my manuscript down last night), log onto my facebook, then my blog. In that order. Always. I dig routine.
I skim the last ten-fifteen pages of what I wrote last (usually the night before) making little edits as I go. (Things like sentence structure and general flow stand out first thing in the morning, don't ask me why.)
Then I continue where I left off. Plotting and basic chapter outlines are things I do before I start, but once I'm into the story things change. I don't do new outlines or fix the originals. I just write. It's funny to go back after the books are finished and see where I thought they were going to go. They're so much better off-the-cuff.
I write until about 11am then shut down the computer and get things done around the house.
I return to peck at the keyboard from 3pm to 4pm (after checking in with my emails, blogs and accounts of course).
I cook dinner, clean some more, spend quality time with the fam. Settle down for the night with my favorite shows.
Then type again until my eyes burn and I have to call it a night.
So there it is. Things like Surrender Arcs (thank you Jenny Anderson) and Turning Points (bless you Jennifer Crusie) are extremely helpful and I use them at the beginning of the writing process. Once I'm writing though, I only use them as references for where my general story needs to go.
I think the biggest thing I've taken away from workshops and conferences is you have to do what works for you to be successful. If you're someone who makes outlines and sticks to them like glue--great! If you're not, don't beat yourself up. Keep plugging away.
Anybody care to weigh in on their own brilliantly profound writing process? Come on, enlighten me.