‘So how’s the writing going?’ How often have you heard that one, after you tell everyone you want to be a writer? It’s the oldest one in the writer’s handbook so to speak!
So how is the writing going? Please excuse me, but I still have to ask. I hope it’s pouring out of you, and flowing so much your fingers are barely touching your keyboard, or you have broken your pen. Well, if it’s you it certainly is not me! The muse is still missing but I am at least making notes for a new book and developing characters. All very important stuff to do and a habit you should get into, if you want to be taken seriously.
Some fiction writers plan their book chapter by chapter. Some just start writing and see where it takes them. Others start with the ending and work their way from there, particularly true for thriller and crime genre novels. Personally, I like to grow the idea for a book inside my own head first, then take down some notes and then start writing. It’s a funny thing but I kind of know what feels right to me before I start writing, so if it doesn’t feel right, then I mull it over until it does.
The thing to bare in mind is flexibility. There are times when you are sure about everything you have noted down. For example, your main character might have black hair and her name is Dawn, but by the time your writing really gets underway she seems more like a Tracey with red hair. Other details then begin to change and as a writer you have to adapt to these changes by making friends with the re-writing process.
That’s the thing; don’t become so rigid with your plan or outline that you get stuck if it doesn’t feel right. And you know what happens once you get stuck; you stop writing all together which is the last thing you want!
This is the stuff of professional writing the ability to work through any creative barriers or obstacles you encounter along the way. Don’t throw your hands up in the air when you encounter such moments, just take a break and come back to it later. Remember, you are the master of what you are creating, you can change it as many times as you want before you commit to sending it out. I feel it’s important that as a pre-published writer you satisfy yourself first. At this stage you should not be too concerned about the views of an agent or publisher.
However, if you are lucky enough to acquire one and they give you feedback on your manuscript then this in advice you should take. Don’t forget, book publishers are in the business of making money and they will have a better idea of what is ‘happening’. So if they ask you to change this or that, or do an out and out re-write, jump to it – fame could be just around the corner! However, if you are happy with what you have written and don’t want to make any changes or you simply cannot land a conventional book deal, then there is always the option of self-publishing. See my post Adam Croft, Her Last Tomorrow: A Book Review. Adam Croft is a self-published dark thriller writer who is doing very well thank you very much!
So the next time someone says to you ‘ so how’s the writing going?‘ In your best, most brightest voice, say ‘it’s going very well, thanks for asking!’
See you next time, until then, Happy Writing, S
Ps: Check out Writing Magazine (August, edition, p.7) and see how the American novelist Jodi Picoult approaches writing. You will gain some interesting insights!
Would love to know your approach to writing Please do leave a comment below.