It’s August. Time has like no meaning and all the days seem to run together these days. I’ve been wrapped up in the ever changing back to school plans for my kids and totally forgot it was IWSG blog hop day. But luckily I remembered early enough in the day to whip up a post.
As I was talking in my Squad chat about how I forgot and was trying to think of what I wanted to share today, my most helpful friend Cora gave me a seed of direction. The evolution of my writing. I’ve mentioned plenty of times on this blog how I’m a pantser. I don’t like planning, never have, and probably never will. At least not in a hardcore sense.
I need to have room for the story to grow and move however it sees fit. It’s my process. But it’s also slow. Something I fully understand and accept about myself. However, as writers I think we’re always in a state of growth. Processes change, brands become clearer, we have to adjust to the times.
Last month I talked about a challenge I took part in, the 20kin5days created by Tasha L. Harrison. As part of the prep work for that challenge she created a workbook. It breaks down by the day things we should do to “plan” our story prior to the challenge start day so we can set ourselves up for success. Remember I don’t plan.
But, because I wanted to fully commit to this challenge I went through the workbook. Each day we had an assignment of sorts, but nothing that was like the old school outlining that I so despise. Instead it was more practical applications to help us get to know your characters and what I (they) wanted out of the story.
I could do that because part of the reason I’m slow in my process is I was learning about my characters as I was writing them. I would start off with a bare bones premise and it would evolve as I wrote chapter by chapter. The workbook questions gave me a bit of a head start. I was able to look at my story with a different set of eyes from the start and already have an idea of my character’s personalities before I wrote the first sentence.
Now before the plotters out there get too excited, that is the extent of the preplanning I did. There were other steps like doing a blurb in advance so you could layout the premises for the story, that I did. What I didn’t do was the final day assignment which was plan out the scenes for the book, because yeah…I don’t plan like that. LOL However as I neared the end of the story, I did start to think of what other points I wanted to hit to bring the story to a close.
All in all, I got the book done and in the fastest turn around for me. The 20k challenge started mid-May (15th or so) and I finished the book as of July 30th. That might not be impressive for some, but for me, getting a 57k first draft done in two months or so was a big deal.
Aside from the pre-work done, another thing I realized is I write better when I am being held instantly accountable. Part of the challenge included scheduled Zoom write-ins were we did sprints. Dedicated writing time where I had to report my word count at the end. I need that focus and accountability because I am way too lax on myself otherwise. My friend Cora has agreed to do meetings with me as well and we talk about our projects, plus do sprints. It just gets the ideas flowing and makes me more productive.
I am evolving as a writer. I am recognizing things about myself as I grow and continue on in this journey which is helpful. I’m learning to accept my flaws and embrace them but also learning to be open to change as sometimes it can be a good thing.
Now that the first book is done and off to my betas, something else that is new for me is I’ve already started the next one. I’m using the workbook again, so we’ll see how quickly I can turn around book 2 or will book 1 have been a fluke. I’ve set a goal and have my accountability partners in place and I’m ready.
Stay safe, be kind to each other, and wash your hands.
Until next time