I know, I'm not Stephen King. But we do have the same birthday.
Like most everything else in life, the process behind writing varies from person to person. I've read plenty of articles and books about writing and how you're supposed to do it, and basically everything I read says something different. Go figure. From what I've learned about myself, the best way for me to write is to just sit down and do it. Of course, that sounds really easy, which it's definitely not. So this is what I do. Obviously, I'm not telling anyone to do it, because every person writes differently. This is just my humble method.
1. Get in the mood
Some people can listen to music while they do homework. I cannot. The same applies to writing. When people kindly suggest that I play music softly in the background, I kindly answer that if I listen to music while writing, I end up singing a song while my fingers hover over the keyboard or journal that I'm currently using. My eyes glaze over, and the only thing I can think about is the next word in the song. I need silence.
When I want to write, I have to make sure I have the right motives. Sometimes I write because I know I'm falling behind, and that's when everything I write turns out to be a gigantic pile of terribly contrived crap. It's disgusting. You don't want to see it. Writing should never be an obligation; it should be a stream of thoughts that will one day explode out of you if you don't write them down. If I'm not excited to write, I shouldn't write at all.
Before I write, I have to meditate (I know, it sounds cheesy) on my story and get into "The Ella Mood." That takes a few minutes, but the effect is far more satisfying than any attempt at writing while not in the right mindset.
So. Become Ella. Pick up a pen (or laptop) and let my fingers do the talking.
2. Don't stop
Nathan is the type of writer who takes an hour to write three sentences. He writes, he rereads, he erases, he writes again, etc. If I wrote like that, I would have an anxiety attack in two seconds. (Of course, he is a better writer, so maybe I should try his method.) When I write, I keep going. I don't look back. That means that my first draft is the ugliest thing to ever exist, but it gets done in a shorter amount of time than the draft of the writer who carefully reflects on each word before it is written. I know I should be a more patient writer, but I also know that if I take the time to stop before I write a word, I'll never finish anything. I'm the type of person who needs to see the whole picture before I can begin to address and evaluate it. Only when I feel that I have released everything do I feel ready to tear it apart. When I take too long to write a paragraph, all I can think about is the next twenty chapters that still haven't been written.
So. Write without pausing. Throw up words until I feel satisfied.
3. Waste paper
As soon as that last word is written, I immediately print out the entire 300+ page document before I even begin to think about rereading it. Then I let it sit in a corner while I find myself, along with all the people I've ignored for the past few months. When I know I'm ready, I sit down with a highlighter and a pen and read the first paragraph.
Crying, cringing, groaning, and regretting ever thinking that I could write a book ensues. But I keep reading.
What I scratch out or change on the paper gets transferred to the document on my laptop. When that long process is through, I reread the document on my computer. Then I might print it out again. Then reread. I throw in a few breaks to recharge myself, and then I go again. The final stage is to read what I've written on my Kindle, which gives me the illusion that the book is real, tangible, and already published. And then I edit some more.
So. Print out lots and lots of copies of what I've written. Edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite. Forever.
That is my general method. It's not exactly foolproof. When I find a method that is, I will become rich and famous. The biggest thing I've learned about writing is that it has to come from within me, not from others, no matter how intelligent and successful they are. When I try to imitate how another writes, my writing becomes something I don't recognize. That can't happen. My writing should be as familiar as the fingers that wrote them. Otherwise, I'm just a girl who is really good at imitating and not so good at creating.
So. Write how you need to write. The end.
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