What it Looks Like

The writing process looks different for every author. In his memoir, “On Writing,” Stephen King outlines his regimented writing process, which includes setting a daily word limit and creating a dedicated space where he writes. James Clear highlights the vastly different routines of twelve authors in his article The Daily Routines of 12 Famous Writers. As this article makes clear, no two authors have the same process. Some need a dedicated space with no distractions, while others like the livelihood of a cafe or coffee shop. The writing process can change as a writer grows and discovers what works and what doesn’t. Here’s what it looks like for me:

I don’t have a dedicated office space for my writing, so I’ve learned how to be flexible when the urge to write hits me. Sometimes my writing gets done during breaks at work, where I type up my stories on my phone and edit them later on my laptop. More often, it’s done at home, either in my bedroom or the living room. I’ve found that the room doesn’t matter, as long as I can write comfortably. Right now, I’m writing this in my favorite armchair in my living room, which is one of my favorite spots. I can curl up and prop my computer on my lap. As long as I can write without getting a crick in my neck or a cramp in my wrist, the location doesn’t matter.

I grew up in a house with three siblings, so early on, I became an expert at tuning out background noise. It’s why I can easily write at work while my coworkers are chatting. In fact, I like a bit of background noise. Writing in complete silence feels weird to me; oddly enough, no noise is more distracting for me. I have a playlist I put on when I’m writing filled with a mix of various musicians; Paul Simon, John Denver, and Frank Sinatra are some of my favorites. The familiar hum helps me focus and keeps me from getting too wrapped up in whatever dark world I occupy while writing.

Like King, I have a daily word count that I set for myself, usually a thousand words. This is a minimum and helps get my thoughts flowing. Some writers who set a limit will stop whenever they reach that word count, even if that means they stop midsentence. That’s not my style. Once I hit that word count, I keep writing until I come to a natural conclusion. Sometimes that means just finishing out a sentence; sometimes, it means I keep writing for hours. How much I write totally depends on the day and how the words are flowing.

I don’t do a lot of editing during the initial writing process. I liked to get the whole story on the page before I start picking through and revising. I’ve found this helps me stay in the story’s heart and allows me to focus on the plot and characters without worrying too much about grammar or punctuation. Sometimes, I’ll reread what I wrote the day before, making small edits to get back into the story. But I don’t do any major rewrites or revisions until I know how the plot plays out.

Horror, obviously, gets pretty dark, so when I’m done writing for the day, I like to take a minute or two to clear my head. I’ll go for a walk with my dog, watch funny TikToks, or take a hot shower. This helps get me out of the dark space my brain goes to when writing and keeps me from getting lost in the macabre.

Figuring out your preferred writing practices takes time, trial, and error. This is what works for me, which took me something like five years to figure out. Figure out what works for you, regardless of what “the greats” have to say. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no right way to write a story, as long as it gets written.

This is my most common view while writing. I call it, “Mom, get off the computer and take me for a walk.”

One response to “What it Looks Like”

  1. Lol what a cute doggo stare. I’m grateful I have a dog because she reminds me I need to get moving from time to time, and not just stay at my computer writing. Anyway, thanks for sharing your process. I found it interesting!

    Like

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