Process Makes Perfect
Creating a personalized process to maximize your writing time.
It has often been said that a writer must write everyday in order to create worthwhile work and perfect their craft.
Some say this is indeed the way, while others believe it is literary dogma that deserves to be challenged.
So is everyday writing necessary or subjective?
Know thyself, writer.
Just as all people learn differently, not everyone writes the same way either. Knowing yourself can help you determine the most effective writing practice for you.
Seasoned writers, like best-selling author Sierra Kay, are able to produce a prolific library of published work because they respect their schedules and how their creativity flows.
Forced writing time, when there isn’t any time to be had, can induce stress, blocking the vision and dampening the author’s experience.
Much of writer’s block can be attributed to the pressure to produce something every single day.
It can also disrupt the creative flow.
“If I sit down to write, then have to get up and leave a scene, it won’t be the same when I return,” said Kay. “I want the time to sit down and get in the zone.”
For Kay, it’s less about a disciplined schedule, and more about writing time that is free from interruption and distraction. When those doors open, she happily walks through and commits herself to the characters and the story.
Perhaps you are a freestyle writer or maybe you like the structure of an agenda. Taking certain factors into account like your schedule and when you feel most creative can help you develop a process that is tailored to your style.
Some writers are morning people, some come alive at twilight, some need a few days of unbothered focus, while others can appreciate twenty minute work breaks or their child’s nap time to knock out a scene, chapter or their targeted word count.
Your process will depend on what feels natural and non begrudged, in cooperation with the time that you have.
“I write every week, but not everyday,” said Kay. “Everyone has a different process. I personally want the time to dedicate to writing, and I don’t necessarily have that everyday, but I do have time every week.”
Kay also says that a writing practice isn't limited to manuscripts or one genre. Poetry, skits, journal entries and even notes can be a way to work your creative muscles.
“My mother was a great letter writer,” said Kay. Which is a beautiful and personal way to keep your writing skills strong, whether it’s done everyday or once a month.
Writing everyday may sound good and well-intentioned, but it’s not for everyone. Holding yourself to a disciplined everyday writing habit can seem daunting, discouraging some would-be writers from even getting started. However, writing everyday may be exactly what some need to stay disciplined and focused.
Taking the time to discover what writing style works best for you is the key.
“Writing everyday is not my process and that’s okay,” said Kay.
Kay’s advice is simple and straightforward: “Find the practice that works for you. Not everyone is going to do it the same way, but do something,” said Kay. “Be active in your active writing.”
These days, there are all sorts of distractions to keep us from our craft. Don’t let the everyday writing narrative be one of the distractions that throws you off path. The most important thing is to find a process that works for you and then follow through.
Remember, improving your writing skills can come in a variety of ways, but if you are interested in creating a disciplined writing process give these tips a try.
CREATE A PERSONAL WRITING PROCESS:
Evaluate how you spend your free time.
Discover when you are the most creative.
Determine where the two intersect.
Zero in on that slot and schedule it as uninterrupted writing time.
Draw boundaries around this time with work, friends, and family.
Remove distractions like phones, pets and tv.
Make sure you have the materials you need when you sit down to write.
Prime your mindset with a notification a half hour before you sit down.
Find what motivates you. Is it word count, page count, chapter completion, scene completion, or simply putting an idea on paper before it escapes?
Reward yourself when you are done. A simple pat on the proverbial back will even work!
Give yourself a grace period to get into the consistency groove.
Now get to writing, writer!
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