Monday, April 11, 2011

How do you write? What works for you?

Me and Leigh Michaels? Yup. We're kismet writers.

This Saturday was the San Francisco Area of Romance Writers' April meeting. I don't usually gush and gush about all the great things I learned at the meeting or how great the speakers were or how blessed I feel to be dining with such influential people in the publishing industry. (Although I really should.)

But oh my goodness, I can't help myself today.

It's easy for writing to feel like a solitary career. I mean, I sit at my computer, staring out my window and write stories about fictional characters. It's easy to compare my work to the work of others (and then feel that my work is not good enough). But what I find myself doing more often than not is comparing my writing style to other writers and their styles.

How does Nora Roberts pump out three (Or Four! Or Five!) books a year? How did Amanda Hocking make Amazon her bitch? (Yes, oh yes, she did.) What are other writers' work schedules like? And are they, in any way shape or form, like mine?

I've asked almost every writer I've met about their writing process and almost every writer has said that what works for them doesn't work for everyone. And it doesn't! It's all right. To each their own. Whatever works. (Haven't you told yourself this a hundred times over?) As long as you can write a Smashing book, and another, and another, who cares how you get there?

I spent Saturday with Leigh Michaels. *Insert big happy sigh here. What a breath of fresh air. She's brilliant and talented and charismatic and I really wish she lived closer. (Although Iowa is beautiful and I suppose now I could visit for more reasons than to see the famed John Deere plant.) Her workshop on the Sexes was great. I took a ton of notes. But I also learned how eerily close her writing process is to my own.

Cue daily schedule that's probably, really, not all that interesting: I get up, drink coffee and read, catch up on my email, write until lunch, sneak in more writing in the afternoon, break for a bit, then perhaps come back to it after dinner.

Sounds pretty cut and dry right? That there'd have to be a ton of writers who have the same schedule? Surprisingly, not so much. I've heard more writers say they write at night--staying up until the sun rises to spark their muse. I've heard writers say they have to write before lunch only, otherwise their creativity dries up. I've heard that some writers create only a work. Only at home. Only at a coffee shop. Only at the park. While listening to music. While watching mindless television. Only in complete silence! Onlyonlyonlyonly.

All I can say is, everyone does have their own, unique creative process. You should do what works for you. And if my career is a *smidgen* as successful as Leigh Michaels' and I turn out to be half as sweet and humble and fantastic as she was, I'll be well on my way to a writing career I can be proud of.

What's your writing process like? Do you think it mirrors another writer's?

5 comments:

Gina said...

Mine is sporadic, since I'm trying to write around a full time job. I admit that when it's slow, I write AT my job. I can only imagine what the IT department is thinking when they read my sent e-mails (and I'm sure they do) and find a juicy kissing scene. But I have to get it out somehow!

Aubree said...

i tend to write more at night but occasionally inspiration strikes mid afternoon!

Kristin Miller said...

Gina--Wouldn't that be hilarious?!? Okay, maybe not for you, but I bet your co-workers would laugh their tails off!

Aubree--Dark Tide Rising was written almost entirely at night. Don't know why the paranormals are different, but I just run with it. Morning writing for me, it is!

Beth Barany said...

I'd write in the afternoon, all things being equal. Right now with a more than full time self-employed work, I write whenever I can which is often on the weekends -- Saturdays are for me! -- or at 10pm at night. :-)

Kristin Miller said...

Beth--Weekends are great too. But starting at 10pm?!? Crazy woman. You sure you're not a vampire?