This year, I’ve seen a number of articles detailing the writing process of famous authors. I’ve also seen people talking about the writing process – including the ones of said famous authors – as aspirational. Something they’ll have one day if/when [insert condition]. Usually, that condition is writing as a full-time job. I’m not judging; I used to do the same thing. But it took actually becoming a full-time author to realise the truth.
So here it is: the truth about your writing process.
One: It’s individual.
Your writing process is unique. Even if you’re a plotter or a pantser, the details of your plotting and pantsing won’t look like anyone else’s. Maybe you have to plan each chapter in detail; maybe you jump between works-in-progress without any plan at all. In these scenarios, the detail you go into and the number of those works-in-progress depend entirely on you. Which means your writing process is never going to look like anyone else’s. Not even that famous author’s; not even if you had all the time in the world.
(That should put aspiring towards it, or feeling pressured to get there, or guilty because you’re not there, into perspective ?)
Two: It changes.
The way I wrote when I started writing is a lot different to how I write now. It changed when I transitioned to writing full time, yes, but it also changed in the years I’ve been writing full time. As I’ve learnt and grown as a person and a writer, my writing process has developed into what works for me now. Now; I have no doubt it’ll change in the future again. Because my writing process reflects where I am in my life, both personally and professionally. And I’ve learnt not to judge it. There’s no “why aren’t you doing it the way you did it before” type questions – even when I got more done before.
It didn’t work for me before.
And that’s really what it comes down to: your writing process has to work for you. It shouldn’t be the other way around. You shouldn’t be pressuring yourself to fit into your idea of how things should be. Least of all if that “should be” is based on someone else. There is no “should be”; there’s only you and what works for you depending on where you are in your life.
That’s what you should be remembering about your writing process. If you’re writing, and you’re happy, that’s what’s most important.
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