My Writing Process

Every writer has a different writing process, but we all agree that you should have one.  A set of rituals if you will, to set the mood, to coax the muse to come out to play.  Mine vary depending on what other things are transpiring in my life and I think it’s important to have that awareness.  It keeps the guilt from becoming a thing and the ego from telling you ‘I told you so…you can’t do this’.

Find your Peak

I think the most important thing to establish a writing process is to figure out when is your best writing time.  It isn’t always first thing in the morning. Or before you go to bed at night.  It might be during the lunch hour of your real job or commuting to/from work.  If you drive on your commute, it’s a little harder to make that your writing time, but with the help of technology, it’s not impossible.

Don’t have a magical Witching Hour? Start experimenting.  Pay attention to when the ideas come.  Check the clock and see what time it is and then try to repeat the process the same time the next day.  That’s how I started out.  There were just certain times of the day that my mind was ON FIRE and the ideas were flowing.  Then there are times where not even crickets can be heard.  One day it occurred to me that there was a specific time that everything flowed. So, I started arranging my life around that time.  Like a standing doctor’s appointment or any when your favorite show is on, you make a real effort to block that time off.  Put it on your calendar and make sure nothing encroaches during that time.  It’s sacred.

Pick the Right Backdrop

Once you figure out your peak productive time, make sure the stage is set.  That means your work space.  It doesn’t have to be an office, just has to be a space that is dedicated for writing.

There are days when I’m driving during my peak time, it just can’t be helped.  Life gets in the way.  But, I don’t let that come between my dream of being the next James Patterson or J.K. Rowling.  It’s when I use my voice to text app or the old school voice recorder to capture my ideas.  Admittedly, it’s not the most productive because I do have to spend time later going back and fixing errors or transcribing, but I do that during my peak times as well, so if other ideas come to light, I’m already there.

Avoid Feeding Distractions

On the days I’m not driving, I try to maintain a special spot where all my creativity takes place.  And it’s a place where no other activity happens.  It’s not where I also do laundry, so that I’ll want to fold clothes instead of writing.  And it isn’t where I have all my bills piled up so that I will lament about adulting and how my bank account always seems to be crying for help.  I have a space dedicated to just writing.  Don’t forget to hide the phone, turn off Wi-Fi, and just go for it. Give yourself the chance to just be creative, if possible.

Write it when you Think it

Of course, there are times that I want to stop and look up something ‘real quick’ for ‘research’ purposes or check if that certain person has responded to my earlier text.  But, I’ve learned that if I just write a little note to myself and highlight it right there in my document, that it doesn’t interrupt the flow and I can get to it later, or even in the next draft.  And if that person put off responding to you than you can do the same right back!

The idea is to get your thoughts down in writing and worry about the other stuff later.  Structure, vocabulary, tension, conflict…that text…they are like the paint colors and fluffy throw pillows that you add later.  You can change them at will.  If you don’t have the foundation and framing for the story…the walls built…then it doesn’t matter if you’ve already bought the $50 can of Sherwin Williams 6585 Coming Up Roses.  If there are no walls, there won’t be any painting happening.  Catch my drift?

Tune into your Headspace

My final ritual is getting in the right mind space.  If you discover that your perfect writing time is 2 pm, but you’ve had a hectic morning and you are looking at the clock and knowing that you’ll have an equally hectic evening, then it’s hard to be creative, even if it is your prime writing time.  Our minds are like a sieve.  They aren’t perpetually full.  They slowly drain throughout the day and the only way to refill it is to take a time out and do something to replenish it.

For me, it’s taking 15 minutes before my non-negotiable appointment and meditating.  If I’m in the car, like I mentioned before, I obviously can’t meditate the traditional way.  But, I can put on my favorite tunes.  Or make a point to observe nature around me.  Even in the concrete jungle of Chicago, there are trees, the lake, flowers, even brave bunny rabbits that somehow survive by foraging off the grasses of small parks.  If there is absolutely no vegetation for miles, I check out the sky.  I observe the colors.  Is it raining?  Is that a cloud shaped like a clown?  Did the guy in front of me just slam on his brakes for no reason?!  I’ll even do a count on how many black, grey, white, red…whatever color cars there are around me.  How many Hondas, Nissans, BMWs?  Anything to engage my brain into something other than the stresses of normal life.


Now, if you are reading this and you are thinking: That’s great but the only time I do have to write is while I’m doing XYZ (driving, commuting, doing the dishes, while the kids are napping).  If that’s the case, then take advantage of technology!  Don’t let those things be your crutch of an excuse.  There have been voice-to-text programs on the market since early 2000.  I used to work in a large law firm where these programs were used with great success every day.  I also knew several attorneys who recorded letters to clients, answers to briefs, and other important writings while doing any number of things, all with their voice-to-text programs or a simple voice recorder.

The point is, if you have the idea, and you have a niche of time, commit to using it.  Don’t talk yourself out of it.  And the more you can make it a ritual, the habit will form and you will be off and running to the top of the NYT best sellers list before you know it.

And if your only space to write IS in the laundry room, make sure you are writing between cycles, or using one of the many writer apps out there to help get your ideas down hands free.

Find the time, create the space, and put yourself in the right mind set and you are halfway to finishing that manuscript.  Trust me.  And GOOD LUCK!

— KT


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Three Things to Help you on your Writing Journey
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One thought on “Three Things to Help you on your Writing Journey

  • August 28, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    I think you have some valid points. Every writer has their own way of doing things, fortunately, or the world would be a much more boring place.


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