A Writer’s Life: Developing a routine.
When I came back to my blog a few weeks back, it was with the intention of really building up my writing practice again. I wanted to use the blog as a way to hold myself accountable while also logging some time actually writing in one of the forms I enjoy. The self-reflection of blog writing appeals to me; I enjoy sitting back and examining my emotions, analysing the thoughts that cross my mind. I hoped that it would be a good way to get back into the rhythm of regular writing.
I set myself a couple of goals: to post on the blog regularly – starting with every Monday initially and seeing if I could maintain that weekly routine, and to write some of my current work in progress (WIP) every day. It has now been two weeks since I made that first goal. I have made one blog post and this is the second so that first goal is so far working out. I have been able to show up for myself and work on building that consistency. I’m celebrating that because it only takes a glance through my blog history to know that I haven’t managed it before.
However, I have not written every day. The days I have written more of my WIP feel wonderful. The days I haven’t written have gone one of two ways – I’ve been so exhausted that I’ve not even thought about doing so, or I’ve been lazy and feeling unmotivated so haven’t gone near my computer, nor have I done anything else. Those are the days I feel guilty for not doing it, yet given we are currently between homes following the sale of our house last week, and crashing at my in-laws home, living out of suitcases with our regular routines thrown out, it was undoubtedly unrealistic to set such a goal in the first place.
On those days that I have been writing, I’ve noticed a few things about my writing process that I thought I’d share. Usually, I sit down and open up Scrivener (the writing software that I use) and from there I just launch into continuing from whichever scene pops up on my screen. I have the bones of my idea and I like to just write and see what happens. Authors I’ve seen speak at writing conventions refer to this as being a ‘pantser’, and I’ve often written this way. I like to just go where a story takes me and see what comes from it.
However, in the past I have also been known to be a hardcore ‘plotter’ because I get a lot of joy from working out how a world works and what might happen to characters within that world. What I have discovered about myself these past few weeks of writing is that I am most definitely a hybrid of the two - a plotser, perhaps? Is that a thing? I was contently writing away until I hit a wall that consisted of me going ‘well shit. I don’t know what happens next!’ I stopped writing and rather than give up in fear of not being good enough, I have instead been plotting – to see what I can develop and where I see this story going next. I have the bones of my plot – I have always known what I want the end to look like and what I see the major complications being, but the inner workings of how to get to that point are currently eluding me. Here’s hoping that a bit of workshopping helps me focus my attention.
Failing that, I know that I have a writing date booked in with one of my favourite writing partners. She knows my plotting mind like no other, so I know that when our date rolls around, she will read what has been written, and plotted, so far. I will throw all my thoughts at her and like the brilliant sounding board that she is, her feedback will be invaluable.
If you’re a writer and you’re reading this, do you have a sounding board or writing partner? What do you do if and when you get stuck? I’d love to hear it.