8 October 2012
What is your writing process like? Do you write every day or when the mood strikes you?
My writing process mostly involves dragging myself away from the internet and all the other things that pretend to be more important. I don't write every day. I wish I could. I may have to shoot my dogs and all my friends...
Felix Baron, author of petite novel Look at Me!
Just about every day.
Chrissie Bentley, contributor to The Visitor, Confessions, Submission, My Secret Life, Sex & The Stranger, At Your Mercy, Shameful Thrills, Exposure, Improper Conduct and Girls Girls Girls and Underworlds
It’s a bit of both. Most days I will at least jot down some ideas, which tend to turn into the first page or so of a story. Then, if there’s no interruptions, and nothing else I have to do, I’ll just keep going. Otherwise, they go into a folder that is now filled with similarly dismembered parts, to be (hopefully) dealt with sometime soon. Right now, the oldest fragment in there is seven years old....
My writing process is very sporadic and unpredictable. I have periods of goods days, weeks and even months where I produce and submit piles of stories. Then there are those times when I can't seem to write anything. I had a whole year like that once.
I absolutely have to be inspired by something, a word, a feeling, a thought, or I can't get it done. I'm not a person to sit down and free write. I'm also not a person who can abide by a writing schedule. I write in several different notebooks, on my laptop and in the notes feature on my cellphone. That is how I get by. Or else.
I certainly think about writing every day, but actually sitting down to start a story doesn't actually happen every day. I usually start with either a story title or an image or a plot, and go from there, but the actual intricacies of the story usually come to me as I write. After over a decade writing erotica, I am pretty easily suggestible, like yesterday I literally saw a photo of a sausage and thought, I need to write a story called 'Sausage Party.' No idea yet what it will entail, but it's coming to me. Generally I like the idea stage a bit more than the actual writing stage, but once I get into the writing, I am often swept away by it and can tune out everything else. It's getting to the point where I open the document and just start typing, without worrying that I have no ending or not enough time or a million other worries that often rush in just as I'm about to start writing that's a bit more challenging.
My writing process is a struggle between lazy me and writer me that goes something like this:
Writer Me: Write something!
Lazy Me: Yes. Just as soon as I finish reading this chapter in Fifty Shades.
Writer Me: That is drivel. You like Margaret Atwood. Don’t keep reading or you’ll unintentionally have all of your characters setting their mouths in grim lines and biting their lips.
Lazy Me: I know! So why can’t I put it down. Dammit. Does it make it better if I also found it impossible to put down Cat’s Eye?
Writer Me: No, then it's just even more confounding. Anyway, stop distracting me. Get over here and write something. What about all those good ideas you were crapping on about at that dinner party?
Lazy Me: Oo, speaking of dinner, I’m hungry!
And on and on until I eventually read, eat and sometimes even clean everything so there is nothing left to do but write.
I normally write when the mood strikes me or when I have a long period of time that I can sit at the keyboard. I’ve been known to put in ten to twelve hour stints (with breaks) when I’m working on a book. For Private Dancer, that process was turned on its head. I had a short writing time frame, which didn’t allow me the luxury of waiting for anything. I wrote every day on this story and produced a high volume of words very quickly. I don’t think my normal process would have worked anyway, because my mind was so wrapped up in the story, I couldn’t have waited days between writing sprints. The ideas were coming fast and furious, and I had a mood and tone I thought worked. I didn’t want to take a break and lose that.
Madelynne Ellis, author of Anything But Vanilla and forthcoming All Comers and Her Husband's Lover, contributor to Come Play with Me
I write when life and the kids allow it. Sometimes that means I get to write every day, at other times I'm lucky if I even get to think about writing. My process is probably quite haphazard. I shake ideas around in my head for a bit, write the first chapter, then write a crude sort of working synopsis, which I pay minimal attention to as I write the rest of the book. I have to get everything right before I can move forward to, so I'm constantly going back to the start in order to rewrite things and add layer in details.
Rose de Fer, author of Lust Ever After
I try to write every day. Even if I'm feeling totally uninspired, I can usually manage a few words or ideas. Some days are better than others, obviously, so I don't fret too much about having off days, as they'll be made up for on other days. I can't stick to any sort of rigid schedule and I don't have any concrete goal or word count in mind.
I write almost every day. Pretty much ever single day until I start to feel too antsy and 'type A'. Then I will take a few days off, sometimes even a week. When that becomes too difficult to handle, I get back into writing. I guess the real answer is I follow my gut. For the most part, my gut likes to spend most days writing until my family is home.
I teach creative writing by correspondence so I work every day but not necessarily on my own stories. Left to my own devices I'd probably worry about writing more than actually write but I find a good, solid deadline to be most helpful in getting me over the 'eeek' part and immersed in the work.
I hate to admit it, but I rarely write a story until I spot a specific call for submissions that appeals to me. I jot down ideas so that when the call comes I know what to do, but I don't write it until the call comes. I'm also trying to stretch my writing muscles. So I've written two paranormal stories (published) and, recently, a fantasy tale (also published.) I'm dying to try steampunk but haven't seen a call since I managed to comprehend the subgenre. I can't wait to write a steampunk story but I will, until I see that call.
First, I bash on the keyboard until my eyes go funny and my wrist starts spasming. Then, I watch twelve movies from the 80's, laugh about them on Twitter, eat lots of beetroot and worry about everything for an hour. After that, I re-read what I just wrote, and want to kill myself. Once I've killed myself, I come back as a ghost and bash some more, only this time the bashing's harder, because I have the memory of the suicidal badness of my work lodged into my brain. At this point, I am convinced that I and I alone am play-acting at being an author, while everyone else knows exactly what they're doing at all times. Then I cry and pull at my hair and force every word out like it's a piece of barbed wire hooked to the scrotum I don't have, before collapsing into an exhausted sleep.
Then I wake up the next day, and do it all over again.