When I first started writing, I read every writing book possible as it related to craft and process. I clicked on every blog post, as it related to craft and process.
At writing conferences, I would raise my hand—and ask about craft and process.
Ultimately, I was looking for the answer to: “So what is your process [insert Awesome Author Name Here] so that I may, too, become an Awesome Author?”
And for, hmm, 10 years, I did this. When I got stumped, I would pick up another book or read another blog, looking for the answer to “process.” I just knew that some Awesome Author’s process was going to make me an Awesome Author with an awesome process, too.
But the thing is, I was inspired by those authors, but no one’s process actually ever became my process.
Elizabeth George likes to freewrite her entire book and then go back and write it from scratch.
Victoria Schwab puts stickers on a calendar to mark her writing progress.
Stephen King writes 365 days a year.
I have tried all of these things—and all that has come from it is that I now know that these three authors’ processes are not my process.
And now this brings me here:
YOU MUST FIGURE OUT YOUR PROCESS
For the last two years that I was self-publishing, I had another goal in mind: to note my process and streamline it.
Over the course of eight stories (3 novels, 3 novellas, and 2 short stories), I wrote down what I did for each draft, how long I took to do that draft, and even the breaks I ultimately took between drafts.
It looked somewhat like this (overly simplified):
Freewrite story; 2,000 words per day
Keep in Word
(Two week break)
Put in Scrivener
Revise with interview in mind
(Three week break)
Revise, touching every word
Get rid of fat
Figure out each scene’s purpose
Write notes as they come up; do not go back!
Keep in Scrivener
(Three week break)
Move to Word
Revise based on highlights
Read through and smooth out rough spots
When I first started this process, I was doing EIGHT drafts. Now, I’m at six. Why? Because I’m not hemming and hawing, trying to remember what I should do next. I have it down. I know what the next step is, based on how my mind and energy works.
The key to finding your process? You’ve gotta finish a story. And then the next story. That’s the only way you’re going to be able to write down your process—to go from start to finish, no matter how much it hurts.
The awesome part (on your way to be an Awesome Author)? The more stories you finish, the more that process is honed.
And gets faster.
And ultimately, gives you the faith you need to be an Awesome Author.