I recently read a post on Live to Write, Write to Live on the writing process and thought I’d make my own. Diane MacKinnon answered the following five questions about her writing. These are my answers.
Environment: What kind of environment do you like to write in?
I love writing in coffee shops. There’s something so aesthetically pleasing of the smell of coffee, the soft noises of clinking plates and cups, small chatter, and soft music. It makes me feel creative. I also like comfy places like my couch or bed.
Also, have you ever written in a Panera Bread? Not only does it have amazing food, by I’m allowed to hang out there for hours at a time. Plus I used to work there so I get to see my old friends.
Timeframe: Do you have to plan out your writing or can you just dive in any time?
For my current work in process, I’m able to plan out a chapter or two at a time. It’s always in my head, and lots of time talking out lines of dialogue to myself. I’m not really an outliner.
That being said, this WIP is also 7 years in the making. It’s taken a lot of conversations and growing up and lots of writing to actually get to where my writing is. I’m able to plan chapters now because of all of the time I took to let the story breathe. I’m hoping this won’t always be the case, that some day I can write an entire draft within a few months or so, but that’s the reality of of my first novel.
Time of Day: What time of day or night works best for you?
During the week I have to write at night because I work all day. But during the weekend I like to get started by late morning so I can drink my coffee and pretend writing is my full time job for a little while.
Rewriting: How do you approach the rewriting process?
When I write I tend to rush through the arc I have, which means that I’m not as descriptive as I’d like to be. So a lot of my rewriting goes into making the story seem more visible. It also goes into reworking syntax and awkward dialogue.
Since I’m getting my MFA, I have a professor that reads my WIP a chapter at a time, so I’m also getting feedback that I’ll be able to use when I’m finally ready to rewrite. I’ve been advised to not do so, however, until I have an entire first draft. So I haven’t re-written anything since December. Which has been a very good thing for my page count.
Managing Distractions: How do you do it?
Oh gosh, I’m terrible at managing distractions. I basically have to tell myself that it’s writing time and I can’t be on Netflix or Tumblr or any other distracting site. I’m better at it when I’m facing a deadline.
So, now it’s your turn. Do you know your ideal writing process? Whether you’re a blogger, a novelist, a poet, or anything in between – I’d say you’re a writer. So I’d love to hear how you would answer these questions. Everyone’s process is so different, it’s fun to learn from others. Let me know in the comments.