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!
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.