Writing Process- as Individual as a You Are

by Veronica Forand

Quantity over quality. That is the debate. To write a million words or several brilliant words.

In this market, even the top authors who had been getting by with one book a year are feeling the cry of their readers for more. Some writers have mastered the art of writing fast. Their brains are wired to spew words onto the page with relative ease, or they have the discipline to sit their asses in their chairs for long stretches of time and meet their wordcount goals nearly every day. And the results are solid, and in some cases great.

Then there is me.

I can not spew. I obsess, cross-out, obsess some more, and then somewhere in the middle of the night gain inspiration and type three thousand words in one sitting. The next day, instead of forging forward, I obsess over the words I wrote and usually re-write them. My pace on a good week produces two thousand words per day. On bad weeks, about two hundred words. Overall, I need three months to create something I want my name on. For some, that schedule seems fast. For others, I’m driving in the slow lane. It doesn’t matter. That is my method. It may evolve over time, but for now. I’m content with that pace.

Last year, all writing stopped while I dealt with life issues. It left me with four weeks to draft an 80,000 word novel. I did it. I’m a total people pleaser and wouldn’t have missed the deadline for pretty much anything. The result? The worst book I ever wrote. As a thriller writer, logic needs to be immaculate in my books. This book, however, didn’t just defy logic, it mocked it. The result was confusing, and the language was basic, as there was no time to add complexity. Jane didn’t heave open the door, punching a perfect circle into the drywall from the doorknob. Jane opened the door.

The problem was not only that the story lost flavor and heart, but I had stopped enjoying the process when I rushed. I love spending an afternoon playing with words, placing the perfect verb in a sentence or rephrasing something that sounds ordinary and adding something special to it. A unique metaphor or one of those fancy literary devices I can never pronounce.

After a well-deserved rejection by my editor, I tried to fix the book with two rushed rewrites neither of which were much better than the original because again, I didn’t spend time on creativity and art. In fact, writing had become such a chore, that impatience was woven into my words. Readers, however, are adept at knowing when an author writes with heart, and when they aren’t.

My goal is to never create a story that lacks my passion for the story again, even if that means writing a few fewer books. I spent months fixing my story. The same characters are more fully developed and the plot is complex and intriguing. It’s a book I’m proud to send out into the world.

So the moral of the story? Try different methods, but when the story begins to suffer, go back to your own process, no matter how slow or crazy it may seem to others. Stories need heart and whatever your process, never lose that one key ingredient.

 

Veronica Forand … romantic  thrillers to keep you up at night.

 

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10 thoughts on “Writing Process- as Individual as a You Are

  1. McKenna Sinclair says:

    Oh, we’re so much alike. It took years to get the first book out. I have a good friend who knocked out 30K words in a day and gets through NaNoWriMo in two weeks. I guess you have to write for your comfort level. I’ve come to terms with that. BTW, could you send some of those “dying for the next book” fans over here?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Viola Bleu says:

    What a reassuring piece of writing; thank you for sharing your wisdom.
    Everyone is different (thank God!) and each writer’s method will be slightly at odds with the next.
    A little healthy comparison from time to time, or a shared mini goal, such as I set myself today (1000 by Sunday!!!!) might be fun. But overall, taking all aspects of life at your own pace (deadlines permitting) is the best way forward.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Kathryn Jane says:

    I too, stopped writing for a while last year, and then had to go like stink to try and make a deadline. Lucky for me, I’m self-published, and my editor was very busy so my book not landing in her inbox turned out to be a blessing. I hated not making that deadline, but it turned out to be one of the best things that’s ever happened to me as a writer.
    I found my freedom.
    I found my passion for writing again.
    And the words began to flow… with heart 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Jacquie Biggar says:

    This post is like you, Veronica, full of heart ❤
    I consider it a good day to get a thousand words on the page, and because I can't stand to write something I'm not happy with, sometimes I get a lot less!
    We all have to do what works for us, that's what makes this business both stressful and exhilarating 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Joanne Guidoccio says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience. We are not writing machines, programmed to write “x” words per day or week. And what works for one writer doesn’t necessarily transfer to another. Instead, we must honor and celebrate our creative differences. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pat Amsden says:

    I’m so glad to see a post that isn’t saying write more, write faster and for gods sake, bleed out on the page. I’m writing but much more slowly than you.In the end readers want books they love, no matter how fast or slowly we write them. And sometimes life is going to get in the way, be it messy, sloppy and inconvenient. I’m looking forward to more books written by you, in whatever manner works best for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jodie Esch says:

    I certainly can’t force my process. I’m learning how to treat myself with tenderness in terms of my writing. Comparisons to how quickly others work make me feel envious. And I don’t like living in that zone. Everyone has to find their own path.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Sharon Wray says:

    This was such a timely post, Veronica. I’ve recently been in the same dilemma and now that I have a chance to breath, I’m rethinking everything else I spend my time on to make sure I don’t shortchange the writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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