How do you approach writing? Do you have a system?
Of course in writing there are nuts and bolts which may be idiosyncratic. Although there are some general best writing practices, I suspect we each may have different approaches we prefer.
After a lot of thrashing around, I’ve pretty much settled on writing first thing in the morning. What is really odd is that I am definitely not a morning person. But what has ended up working is to get things going first and then attending to all the other organizational and evaluation things later in the day. After all, fiction writing is not totally about writing. There are also matters of development of the product and promotion along with the necessities of publication.
Building and Sustaining Energy
So I get up in the morning and sit down at my computer. I don’t know how many others do this, but I put on my earphones with my preferred music. I found Pandora helpful and constructed a number of stations, but prefer one with a mix of women jazz singers, romantic piano pieces and technodance. I seem to need variability.
I know it seems odd to be listening to women singing jazz songs, soft piano interwoven with technodance. But I found if I turn off the music my energy starts to fade. Somewhere in the back of my mind it is energizing me and is piped through my brain in such a way that it does not interfere with the creative process. I call it my adolescent brain. I remember listening to music as a kid and it did not interfere with my homework. I still work that way. Strange brains we have.
I’ve also tried not to be rigid. There are some nights when I awaken late and find myself writing in my head. Many of us have the experience of having something “brilliant” happen in the middle of the night and then we can’t remember it come morning. Or, in the light of day, it doesn’t seem so brilliant. Generally, while I do not get up and write it down, I find it is valuable and I retain it. It becomes part of the weaving process.
An Organizational Process
In the end though I feel strongly I need an organizational process. I like the creative part better and am less enthusiastic about the rewrites and correction process. Some days I feel overwhelmed and have to manage those days carefully. I do thank my auxiliary personality function of thinking for the inherent organizational abilities. If I’m overwhelmed I just pull back and let the organizational part take center stage.
And then there are the characters who come to live at my house. It is truly a fascinating process. Mostly I like them but not all of them. So I have to tolerate even the ones I don’t like because they serve a plot purpose. I don’t know of anywhere it is written that the writer must love or even like his antagonists or even the flaws of some central character.
It is fascinating to see characters grow and develop or change entirely. One time I killed a character and then found I had to bring her back from the dead. Sometimes they just mature and that maturity in turn may indicate the need for another character to partner with the first one.
Overall I think each of us probably are mostly in love with the creative process first and foremost. It is a tribute to what our brain holds. And then, like so many things in life, there are inevitable requirements which come with the process.
Are you clear about what you like and don’t like in the writing process?