This is the time of year when I like to stop and tale a look back at my writing journey. I’ve had a lot of fits and starts along the way. I was always a good writer, but I’ve learned there is a lot more that goes into writing than the words I put on the page. There has been an evolution in how I get those words there.
When I started, I had a bazillion ideas. My head was jumbled with scenes, images, general concepts, and I had no idea what to do with them. I had two or three or ten stories going at a time and when something struck me, I went with it. There was no planning, I just wrote.
It was a glorious mess.
Through this process, I was able to start eliminating things that didn’t work for me. Outlines, character sheets, plotting charts…all of them were out the window. I found out I do better when I focus on the story and get the whole thing in my head, then write.
A funny thing happened on the next book. I sat down and wrote it straight through, beginning to end, with no scene hopping. Once I knew exactly how it would all happen, I was able to sit down and get out just one story in just a few weeks.
Then I hit editing, and I discovered that whole “turn your internal editor off and just write” thing wasn’t for me. I went back to editing as I wrote. While my next project took longer, the editing was done in a fraction of the time.
For close to two years, this is how I’ve worked. I have a single project at a time, I have the story planned and I edit as I go.
But now it’s time to learn another new skill. I have to once again learn to juggle multiple projects and write out of order. It seemed like a step backward at first. Wasn’t this where I started, writing any old thing that popped into my mind?
But in the past couple of weeks, I’ve come to realize it’s not moving back at all. Learning to focus on one book was more of a back-to-basics for me. I had to cut the clutter and focus on the process, and now that I have, I can start layering in more stories.
So, this year is all about organizing multiple projects and learning to be more productive overall.
It’s been an interesting journey. I cant’ wait to see where the rest of it takes me.