What’s your writing process?
That’s one of the most common questions people ask.
My answer has always been the same: I write a synopsis, then an outline, then a chapter summary. I do all this in longhand. At times there are 15,000 words written before I ever start the first draft, which I also write in longhand. Everything happens chronologically, from the planning to the writing and the scenes themselves.
Process. I like it. It’s tangible. No surprises. I know what to expect. I’ve written three books this way, and all of them have felt organic, natural, and productive.
Then I sat down to start book four.
Nothing felt organic about it. It just wasn’t working. I went through the typical writer-panic cycle, which goes something like this:
- This book isn’t coming together.
- I’ve lost the ability to string a sentence together.
- Repeat steps one and two.
Then I had a breakthrough.
If something isn’t working, try something else.
Eloquent, am I right?
Instead of writing the opening scene (in other words: chronological; in other words: the usual Erin-way), I wrote the scene that I wanted to write in that moment. And I’ve been doing that for every writing session since. Nothing is in order. But I’m not going to panic. At least not yet.
Let the scenes fall where they may.