Monday, May 23, 2011

The Writing Process

I'm getting ready to start a new project that I'm really excited about this week. Here is my big secret though... I HATE beginnings. After about the first ten pages I tend to say, "Well, crap. Now what?"

After years of experience though, I've learned not to question my own process. It gets the job done and it works. Messing with it only tends to mess with me. I might not fly through beginnings like Candi, or fly through the entire thing like Kasie and Natalie... but I get there eventually.

My strength is the end. Once I get close to the end I can't stop myself. I usually just lock myself in a room and write until it's done. And my endings are usually pretty solid, but I rewrite the beginning a hundred times.

But here's the thing. My method works for me. I can speed my method up by being more disciplined or I can drag it out forever... but when I mess with it, nothing seems to happen. I can't turn my writing process into those of my writing friends, and I shouldn't try. Mine works for me and I'm sticking with it.

What is your writing process? Have you ever tried to use someone else's process?


  1. Oh, Jenn! We are meant to be writing friends! ;) I am good at writing a first chapter, but then I have no idea where to go with it. I LOVE endings though. Love them. I can write my endings like no other and have no problem getting those words out. It's the beginnings I have trouble with. I'm not sure why. Once I get into a story though, I do okay. :) Lets hope I can get through the beginning of my new project I just started... :P
    Good luck! :D

  2. I tend to get to page 50 without a problem and then I hit a wall. Once I get past that, I'm usually okay until the end and then my endings are always way too rushed. I'm terrible at endings.

    After my first conference workshop, I tried to do a detailed outline (our instructor would spend weeks on his outline). It was awful. Truly awful. It took me a long time to figure out that I have to write the first draft with just a mental plan of where to go. After that, I write an outline with the things that need to be added so I can see how it all fits together. I can't outline before the first draft though.

  3. I'm excited you've got a new project. I'm hoping someday I'll be ready to take what I've been learning and start something new.

    So far I've been a discovery writer. I've messed with outlining, but I want to actually 'finish' a project (please tell me we get to that point) before I start another one.

  4. I'm more of a pantser than a plotter, I too trust that the story will reveal itself to me!

  5. I may fly through the beginning, but you neglected to say that I practically move backwards at the end. Yay for new projects!! Even if they are super duper creepy ones. ;)

  6. I always have a hard time with beginnings. I never know exactly where I want to start and so I spend hours typing and deleting. It's a frustrating process. But once I figure it out, things get much easier for me!
    Have fun!

  7. I'm great at writing things that go somewhere in the middle and then I'm just sitting there going, "Well, why in the hell would these two people start talking about dead llamas not fitting in a car?" Setting aside the fact that I've actually had that conversation, it SHOULD be easier to write up to and away from that point, but it isn't for me. I generally know how I want things to end, but I'm with you on the beginning. There's nothing worse for me than starting out strongly with what I'm sure is the most beautiful prose to ever be put on paper and then thinking "Oh my God, I've just ruined the entire book. The opening is so good I have nowhere to go but down..."

    Oh, the ego and psychosis of the writer. New projects are so much fun though. It's like Christmas morning, with everything all new and shiny and full of promise... until you've unwrapped everything and realize that you didn't get your Red Rider BB gun. :)

  8. Really? I LOVE beginnings. It's a downfall, actually, because I'll start story after story and never actually go back and finish one of them.

    Great post!

  9. Yay for new project!
    Beginnings are never a problem for me, it's the middle part that's tough.

  10. Dude, this is totally me! I always have the first chapter in my head. And then, I fall into a Now What Pit. :)

    Man, I laugh when I think how many times the beginning of Searcher changed.

    But exactly like you, I think my endings are strong. So at least I have something

  11. That certainly happened to me for one of my mss. But I feel like I have a different process for each book. With the current one, I did great until the end. With my first, I wrote the beginning and the end and got twisted up in the middle. With another, I rewrote the beginning a gajillion times. I guess I'm still figuring myself out :P

  12. Good luck with the new project! I'm always interested in other writer's processes, because I've found little things from others that help me. I'm constantly tweaking my own process, and sometimes the things I try don't work for me. I think it's fascinating that we're all doing the same thing, but we all do it SO differently!

  13. I kind of like first chapters!
    And hey, congrats on starting a new project! :D