Reinventing Your Process

Okay, so I’ve been writing for a long time. Well, probably not as long as some and probably longer than others. But from time to time, I find myself bored with the process I’m using. That, or I realize that the processes I’m using aren’t working well enough anymore.

So I start to reinvent my process. The process of drafting, the process of revising, the process of publishing. Any of them — and many others — can be reinvented at any time. So if you find yourself in a rut, or you discover that the process you’ve always sworn by isn’t netting you the results you want, it’s time to reshape, reimagine, reinvent.

You don’t have to spend a bunch of money or travel great distances to professional writing conferences to do this. You don’t have to have an amazing, long-standing critique group — though they are helpful!

No, if you have access to the Internet, you can begin to reinvent your process right now, today.

For example, I use to be a pantser. The thought of outlining my novel caused hives to break out in a deadly rash. I wrote many books this way, and the revision process was a killer. After a few years and several books, I was introduced to Save the Cat by Blake Snyder.

Everything changed. My drafting process went through a complete renovation as I read and studied and started beating out my novels BEFORE I wrote them.

Life-changing.

My process was reinvented.

Since then, I’ve read all 3 of his books on getting plot points in the right place, modified his screenwriting documents on his website (click on TOOLS) to fit novel-writing, and read many blogs of other authors and their process with using the beat sheet to plot their novels. (My personal favorite is Jami Gold’s romance beat sheet. When I first started writing romance, I literally didn’t know what to put on the page. There was no villain! The world wasn’t at stake! And her beat sheet spreadsheet seriously saved my life. Check it out here!)

Fast-forward a few years, and I decided the way I was revising — basically a whole-novel approach of trying to fix everything in one swift edit — wasn’t really working. I needed to dig deeper. Do better. Really REvise the novel.

I did happen to stumble upon the solution that resonated with me while at a writing conference. And it was Margie Lawson’s Empowering Character’s Emotions packet. She presented at the conference, and it wasn’t about this topic. But I liked what she said so much — it spoke to me — that I checked out her website after the con.

She has packets you can download for cheap (about $25) and work through on your own or with a partner. I did both, and it absolutely, 100% changed how I revise a novel now. I need to invest in a highlighter company, but I feel like my books now deliver in both plot (because of the beat sheet) and character (because of the ECE packet I devoted an entire summer to learning).

Check out the Empowering Character Emotions packet here, and stay to check out more of what Margie offers. I literally did the course while sitting at the pool. And it was eye-opening.

A critique partner also turned me onto James Patterson’s Masterclass. I just signed up, and I can’t wait to go through his process of outlining a book. My friend said it was absolutely amazing — and I’ve been reading the book she wrote using his method, and it is amazing too. (This course is $90, but she said well worth the price tag. And once you sign up, you complete the training on your own time. As fast or as slow as you want, right from your own computer — pool-side if you want!)

Another reinvention success — this time not mine. 🙂

Right now, I’m reading and watching training videos about marketing, specifically newsletter lists. My books aren’t perfect, but once they’re out there, I do know I have to do my best to sell them. What I’ve been doing isn’t really cutting it anymore, so I’m looking to reinvent once again.

What processes have you reinvented? Which ones do you need to take a closer look at and consider reinventing? 

Liz Isaacson is the pen name for Elana Johnson as she writes inspirational romance, usually set in Texas, or Montana, or anywhere else horses and cowboys exist. Her Western inspirational romance series, the Three Rivers Ranch Romance series, is an Amazon #1 bestseller in Christian Romance, Military Romance, and Contemporary Christina Romance.

She lives in Utah, where she teaches elementary school, taxis her daughter to dance several times a week, and serves on her community’s library board. Liz is represented by Marisa Corvisiero of the Corvisiero Agency, a PAN member of RWA, and an avid romance reader. Find her on Facebooktwitter, and her blog.

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