Progress and the Process

Lately, progress has been hard to come by. I’m working on several things in bits and pieces mostly because none of them are speaking to me in the way I’m accustomed to. It happens sometimes but I know it never lasts too long, this murky, foggy slump where finding words is like panning for gold. I’m happy if I get even a handful of words every day when it gets like this. Every word is progress, even when, maybe especially when they are fighting me at every turn.

Sometimes, when it gets like this, I play around with my process. I am not an outline sort of girl. I’ve done them, I’ve used them. For me, writing with an outline takes all the fun out of it. I like not knowing what’s coming next. Yes, sometimes it leads me down nonrelevant side threads and knots things up but that’s what edits and rewrites are for. I enjoy it when my characters surprise me.

I know some writers who do as much if not more background work as they do writing and it works for them in a way I’m sometimes a bit envious of. I’ve tried working that way and, instead of making things easier, it did the opposite. It felt restrictive and cumbersome. I suppose you can’t know what will work best for you unless you try different methods. It’s something everyone seems to be interested in – how each writer does their thing. Sure, you don’t hear much about it until their fanbase gets pretty solid, but every new writer I’ve come across tends to ask about method at least once. I guess I don’t really have one. I write what comes into my head, research as I go, and hope for the best. And do a number of rewrites to smooth out the edges.

Now that the kids are back in school, everything should get a bit easier. Or, if not easier, I’ll have more time to dig, pan, and fight for those words that are being more stubborn then I’m used to


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