Today’s guest blogger is Teresa Kelly! You can find her here.
When writers start out with their first words, whether they know it or not, they are starting to develop the routine and habits that they will use the rest of their lives to shape, design, and modify their writing. For me writing started early in life, and while I have definitely found writing processes that do not work I have also found the process that does work for me, which I have broken down into six steps to share with you now.
The first step in my process is environment. Funny as that sounds, if you have been writing any length of time you know how crucial it is to be in an environment that feeds your creative thought process. I have written in almost every environment possible, but many will not allow me to focus on the words that I am trying to put down on paper. Ideally when I need to do some writing I get settled at my desk or in a room with as few distractions as possible. I detest trying to write while people are talking or watching television, so I normally pick a location where I can be alone with my notebooks and thoughts. Once I am settled the next most important environmental factor is music. I cannot write without listening to one of my many playlists! Music has always brought out my creative side and so for that reason it is a must! Once the environment is ideal the writing can commence.
Before I get into the meat of my writing I get out a notebook (I keep stacks of these everywhere) and jot down my thoughts on what I am getting ready to write to help keep me focused on characters I am developing and points I am trying to make. I find this helps me stay on course and not forget important details that may become crucial later in the story. It is important to note that my “Thoughts Notebook” stays with me all the time during the course of the story so that I have it available when I think of something, or while writing so that I can refer back to previous thoughts if needed.
3, Initial Draft
Once my thoughts are down for reflection it is time to start some writing. When I am working on my initial draft I get back to basics and grab a pen and notebook. For each story I write there are two notebooks, one for my thoughts and one for the first draft. I love the feeling of filling up a notebook with words as my story unfolds and my characters develop.
4. First Edit and Read Through
Once my story is complete (at least as completed as it can be before editing) it is time to do my first read through and edit. During this time I use a different colored ink pen to make my changes and corrections when editing passages, and, yes, maybe even remove large sections now and then.
5. Typing and Second Edit
After I have completed my first read through and edit, and have ensured that I have wrapped up all loose ends and brought my characters to a good stopping point, it is time to take my story from the now very battered up and marked up notebook to the computer and start typing. While typing I look once more for errors in need of correcting as well as paragraph and chapter structure. When I am satisfied with the results I close the notebooks for good and hit print on my completed document.
6. Final Read Through
Ahh…almost finished, the moment I have been waiting for, the writing I have worked and slaved over for the last few weeks or months and poured my heart and soul into is now in front of me in a printed pile, ready for me to delve in once more and relive the adventure this time without worry about anything but my story line and plot.
While these steps may not work for everyone and get altered depending on what I am writing, for me it is a good concise method that helps me stay on track and come out the other side with a viable story to read and share with friends and/or family.
I hope that each of you get to develop and fine tune your writing process so that in the years to come you get all the pleasure of getting lost in your work without getting buried under it.