It’s hard to believe that this will be my last blog post for 2014 – the year has gone way too quickly! At this time of year I always find myself ‘ruminating’ over the year in terms of my writing and realizing (yet again) that I never do achieve all the goals I set in January. I didn’t ever reach my ‘words per day’ writing quota and, although I have a new book out on submission with editors, I didn’t manage to write two books this year – more like fragments of about 1 and 3/4:)
But taking my cue from Jim’s post yesterday on his Nanowrimo experience, I thought I’d take stock of the year that is almost past and think about what I learned (rather than setting off 2015 with a whole new set of unrealistic goals!)
So….what did I actually learn this year?
- I write the way I write. No point trying to impose early morning regimes or daily writing quotas – I just have to make sure my bum hits the seat each day and let myself go where the writing takes me. Some nights I’m going to write into the early hours of the morning, others I’m going to binge watch ‘The Good Wife’ instead…that’s just how I roll…
- That being said, I’m a planner and outlines are critical. For every book I start I now draft an outline, a proposal and sample chapters to run past my agent. This not only helps focus my work but also enables me to get valuable input before I become too enmeshed (and perhaps too enamored) with an idea.
- Scrivener is an awesome tool but I still somehow find myself copying the manuscript over into Word at the end for final revisions…maybe I still need to work on weaning myself off the old ways:)
- Deadlines are necessary. Self-imposed deadlines are mandatory – ditto for conference calls and face-to-face meetings with my agent.
- I have to respect my creative process – and recognize that extra volunteer work (like being the PTCO president at my twins’ elementary school) seems to sap me of creative strength – so I need to impose limits on this (otherwise I have nothing left to put into the writing). Not sure why that is – but that’s just the way I am and I have to accept that.
- I also have to accept that I will never be satisfied with my output – I always want things to be finished faster or achieved quicker. I now have to set that aside and honor the work that has been completed rather than constantly berating myself for what hasn’t.
- There really is no point in worrying about all the elements you cannot control (so why do I still try?!)
- And finally, I learned this year that my best writing happens when I relax and have fun. That’s when my true creative voice shines through:)…You’d have thought I would have realized that by now…but no:)…
So, as 2014 draws to a close what have you learned about your writing process?