The Writing Is All That Really Matters
I get a lot of emails (and tweets, tumblr asks, facebook messages, etc.) asking me about my process–and that’s great! I love sharing what I do, and I love hearing about what YOU do.
But the thing is, no matter what my process is (or her process…or his process), at the end of the day, the writing is all that really matters.
I think it’s easy to get caught up in different “methods” or “outlining plans” or “character creation schemes” because we’re all looking for that Top Secret Foolproof Magic Bullet. I see this most often in new writers–they want that special, insider trick that will make writing a breeze.
Heck, I see it in experienced writers too. They think, If I just follow X-author’s approach step-by-step, then the first draft will basically write itself!
Or, If I just interview my characters like Y-author does, then that first draft will pour out of me!
Or even, If I find my story cookies like Sooz does and write screenplays for every scene, then this book won’t be hard to write!
And I totally understand that attitude, guys! I mean, no one is more guilty of wanting a Magic Bullet than I. Whenever I’m feeling even the slightest resistance in my drafting, I’ll start scouring books on craft 0r author blogs or online workshops. I want anything that will make this writing easier!
But at the end of the day, no matter what method I use–no matter how carefully I prepare or how strictly I follow X-author’s Top Secret Foolproof Magic Bullet–I still have to write the book. All the outlines in the world won’t change that. Knowing my characters as well as I know myself won’t change that either. And even getting pumped up with my cheerleading critique partners won’t change that CRUCIAL step in writing a book.
You know, the part where I actually have to write a book.
Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t explore other methods and techniques. I love trying new approaches to the same “problem.” But you HAVE to realize that no matter what: you’re still going to have to write a book, word by word, page by page, and scene by scene.
You’re going to have put your butt in the chair and your hands on the keyboard. You’re going to have to push through every chapter until you reach, The End. And nothing–absolutely nothing in this entire world (short of hiring someone to do it for you) will change the fact that the writing is all that really matters.
So go forth and write. Even when you feel shaky and unsure.
ESPECIALLY when you feel shaky and unsure.
Sit down (or stand. That’s what I do.) and write one sentence. Then write another sentence. Then write another and another until you have a page.
And then write another page. And another after that.
Don’t stop! Keep going. Maybe not right away, but a wrote little bit as often you can, and eventually you’ll find yourself with a finished book.
P.S. I promised NaNoWriMo worksheets! Those will be up on my forum later today and tomorrow.
October 27, 2014 @ 10:06 pm
A reminder I definitely needed – especially heading into the marathon of NaNoWriMo!
October 29, 2014 @ 3:22 pm
Yes! It was a reminder for me as well, the Queen of Procrastination. (I’m also the Queen of Searching for Magic Bullets Online. :P)
October 29, 2014 @ 3:42 pm
Yes, but *you* have written amazing novels, whereas I am still staring at a blank Scrivener project. Hah. Not for long! (Let’s hope.)
October 28, 2014 @ 3:09 pm
You are awesome!!! This is such a good post – real life post about sitting down in the chair and writing. Thanks Susan for all your hard work and help with writing…. its so incredible and inspiring. I hope someday down the loooong road haha … that I will do the same as well, share what I have learnt on this writing journey.
Thank you thank you thank you <3
October 29, 2014 @ 3:23 pm
Aw, thanks, Loie!! I have to say that this post was partly selfishly motivated because lately *I’ve* been really bad about wanting “secret ways to make the book easier” instead of sitting down to just write the darn thing. 🙂
November 1, 2014 @ 4:31 am
I love the way you explain this – it’s so true, for everyone. I think another thing to remember is that each book is different. Just because one Magic Bullet may have worked for your last manuscript, doesn’t mean it will again (at least not in the same way). Each novel is just as new, confusing and hard in its own way no matter how many you’ve already written. But hey – that’s part of the fun!!
November 1, 2014 @ 2:48 pm
That is SUCH a good point, Eliza!! Yes, yes, YES!!! Every book comes out differently and demands a different approach. So, so true!!
August 29, 2015 @ 12:51 am
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Island Living 365
February 28, 2016 @ 9:27 am
I love this!
Rachael E Stout
March 7, 2016 @ 2:04 pm
Aww…. I wanted a magic bullet! Great advice, writing takes time and effort. Without it, we will always have a blank page.
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July 11, 2016 @ 12:54 pm
Thanks a beautiful post!
August 19, 2016 @ 9:30 am
Very inspiring article! I also agree with you that each book is different and you shoud keep different attitude to it as well. And also it is cool to use different techniques and methods such paraphrasing for example(http://www.paraphrasingservice.com/).