The Writing Process

These are the three things I need when I sit down to write.

The writing process is different for everyone. Some people like to wake up early and write until lunch while others like to start late at night and finish when they’re ready to go to bed. Many listen to music while they’re writing, though there are probably just as many who don’t. And, of course, there are those who choose to use a computer and those who stick with pen and paper. At the end of it all, there’s no one particular way that’s best for writing. It all depends on the writer. All that’s important is getting the words out onto the page.

For me, I’m a morning writer. I like to wake up and eat my cereal. Then, with my fresh coffee, I head into a quiet room and lock the door. I don’t open it again until I’m finished. I don’t answer the phone. The internet and any other distractions are turned off.

That being said, I always listen to music when I’m writing. I know it sounds a bit contradictory to what I’ve just said, but music actually helps drown out the sounds of a neighbour in their backyard or the footsteps of someone passing in the hall. But, more than anything, it puts me in the mood I need to be in to write.

I’m going to expose myself here and say that my style of “writing” music is a little different. If anything, it sounds more like the score to a horror flim. Lots of deep bass and violins. Strange clinking sounds. Atmospheric effects. Some chanting. And every now and then there’s a bell or a fog horn. I’ve let some of my friends listen to it and they assure me that it’s pretty frightening. No one aside from me (and the people who made it, I guess) seems to like it. But, I suppose that that’s all that matters since it’s me sitting down to write.

I guess I should also point out that I write a lot of intense, scary stuff. I wouldn’t call myself a horror writer. I like fantasy and science fiction, too. So, it makes sense that I like the type of music that I do and find inspiration from it.

Anyway…

Once I have my music picked and my headphones on (they block out most of the sound around me), I open my story and begin to type.

Pretty simple, eh? Well, onto the hard part!

Actually, there isn’t much of a hard part. The writing is usually a lot of fun. Sometimes the story is gut-wrenching or disturbing , but it’s still enjoyable…and exciting!

I can’t pretend that this was always the case, though.

When I was younger, I used to go into a writing session with an exact idea of what I was going to put down. I knew the characters that were involved, the setting, the plot. I knew it all. But, when I got down to typing, nothing came out. I’d get stuck after a page or two. And no matter how hard I tried to push through it, I couldn’t. It got so bad that I even stopped for several years (yes, years!). It was only through the suggestion of a friend that all of this changed.

She came to me one day with the idea of writing 50,000 words (100 pages, single spaced) in one month. She had gotten it from NaNoWriMo (a group of people who do this online every November. Check them out!!). The purpose of this was to simply get the words out. I wasn’t supposed to worry about anything. It wasn’t necessary to fact check or worry about inconsistencies. I didn’t need to think about character development or plot threads. The only thing I needed to do was write. So, that’s what I did.

In the process, I found that the words simply came out of me. So much so that, if I didn’t fight it (which I rarely did), the story usually took on a life of it’s own. Most of the time I was surprised at the outcome and that made writing all that much more exciting for me. It was like I was reading a book instead of writing one. It was definitely much more effective than anything I had tried before.

So, this is the attitude I take toward every writing session. I start with only the first sentence in mind and hold absolutely no expectations.

Each writing session takes around 45 minutes. Sometimes they’re longer, but not often. I can’t usually do more than that because I pump out anywhere from 2 to 5 pages in that time and my head is usually spinning when I’m finished (in a good way, of course).

When I’m done, I close my computer and that’s it.

I should mention something important, though. After I finish, I never look at what I’ve written. I don’t even go over what I’ve written on the previous days. I don’t care if I remember the characters names or if I know exactly where they had left off. I know that I can always change that in an edit after the whole of my manuscript is done. That’s just how I roll.

And that, my friends, is my writing process.

(To anyone who’s looking to get started on a book or change up their writing style, I honestly suggest trying this way. This style of writing has been so liberating for me. Of course, I’m not saying that it’s going to work for you…even though deep down I believe that it will. Like I wrote before, every author has their own style. But, it woudn’t hurt to try. Good luck!)

5 thoughts on “The Writing Process

  1. Brent K August 2, 2012 / 4:09 pm

    I like your style. I can’t handle music as I find it influences what I’m writing, but I also don’t mind a noisy room — I find it helps to be able to write anywhere. The problem, of course, is actually the discipline to sit down and do the writing. Your idea of doing it at a set time for a set amount of time is a good one.

    • Michael McManamon August 2, 2012 / 5:29 pm

      Thanks, Brent. I really do think it’s important to look at writing as a job (if that’s what you want to make of it) so setting up a specific time to write has really worked for me. As for the music, I’m going to post a blog about that so you can get an idea of the stuff I’m talking about. No lyrics, just sounds. You might like it. πŸ™‚

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