This has been my motto for the last year. I have tried to make sure every day contains at least a little writing work. For me, this can take more than one form:
Dream – This is the part where you ask, “What if…?” and “Why?” What if space were filled with vampires? What if the guy was the one who needed rescuing? Why would a British royal guard be camping in the woods of Montana? How different would the world be without shrimp? There are ways to force these ideas out of your head, but just as often, they just come on their own. When you’re driving, washing dishes, showering, even sleeping.
Plan – This is where you take that idea, that seed, and run with it. Meet and flesh out the characters. Decide on the right time and place. Start plotting. Not everyone does this step; some skip right from dreaming to writing. That’s okay too. But for the rest of us, it’s important to spend some time in the planning stage.
Write – This is the most self-explanatory stage, but often the most difficult to do. It is helpful to set goals along the way. Also important is saving the editing for later.
Revise – This is my absolute least favorite stage, but it has to be done. The question, though, is how to do it and how much to revise. My own mindset on revising has changed a lot in the last year, and I think I’m hating it less than I used to.
These different stages are often mixed up. Currently, on any given day, I may be working on revising one of two books, plotting another one, writing for a shorter bit that has no real plans, or who knows what else. And I’m always dreaming.
I’ve come to realize recently that, though I am not a published author, I have a lot of experience as a writer. I’ve been writing with some seriousness for 10 years and have grown a lot in both knowledge and skill. I’ve finished the first draft of two novels, which I’m told is an accomplishment in itself. And just in the last two years, I have learned a lot about all of these stages of writing. This blog has always been focused on my writing progress, but I have decided it’s time to branch out. I want to start sharing some of what I’ve learned, even extending to areas outside of those I mentioned above (like finding the right writing atmosphere). Hopefully someone will find some usefulness in my words.
I won’t try to say when or how often these posts might come out, because my family life is too unpredictable. The first post, about the “Dream” stage, will be shortly following this introductory post though.