I felt a sort of jet lag upon returning home from a week away during Hurricane Irma. It’s taken me several days to want to do anything with my writing. Luckily, I have a great writing and critique partner (check her out here) who cares enough to keep up our correspondence, which in turn keeps me accountable!
So I’m back at work on The Year of Gwendolyn Presley Flowers, currently at about 45,000 words – so around the half-way mark. My outline has kept me sane, and I’m careful to keep it fluid; re-working it just a couple of days ago to compensate for an important plot change.
I remember when I was writing my first novel, Oldsters, how I stopped at this same point in the process because I was stuck and went thru an initial edit of the first half. Some writer friends, who unfortunately put too much stock in the ‘rules’ thought I was nuts. Editing before you were done writing? What a waste of time, they cautioned. Luckily for me, I’ve never been good at following rules – and as far as I’m concerned, there’s not a writer dead or alive whose process would work for everyone. So, I did what I wanted, and it was the best decision I’d made as a writer at that point. Editing the first half of Oldsters made me fall back in love with the story and the characters. The doubts I had about giving up melted, and by the time I finished, I was excited again and finished the second half without the nagging negative thoughts that plagued me in the beginning.
When I recently felt stuck on the current project, I wondered if I should do repeat the practice. I’ve chosen not to. This time around, I’m using the editing list I keep for myself, plus critique notes and will do first-round edits after I complete the manuscript. I want to push myself through the writing process using another method this time. I want to experience every which way to write, there really are so many – as many as you can think of.
I like writing craft books as much as the next girl, but my goal is usually just to try to find one take-away from the author. Same with podcasts etc. I’m never looking for someone to tell me how to write my book. I love picking up new tips and generating ideas from something I read or hear, but part of being a writer is making your own way and your own rules.