I was having lunch with another member of Allied Authors, and we began discussing writing — our writing — and we both admitted we weren’t doing much of that.
As I sat there and listened to myself, I realized what a phony I was. Because, people, writer’s write. If they don’t, they are not writers.
And that brings me to this: When writers — successful ones, by which I mean published ones — speak of their challenges or how/when they write and their daily activities, each one, always, mentions having a daily schedule where he or she writes…wait for it…every day and usually at the same time of day.
These writers have different techniques. Some just write without knowing where they are going. They have the idea of a plot, but they let their characters tell them who they are and what’s going on. Some outline their novels first, and they tell their characters where they are going.
Again, both practices have led to success — published success — so that’s not the issue.
The issue is what is best for you and me.
Personally, I feel I have wasted much time and energy in “just writing.”
Now some would say there is no wasted time in “just writing” because that teaches us about what works and what doesn’t. Hey, okay. I like that idea…all the hundreds of pages I have written taught me something. To be honest (and don’t we love that comment, especially on court shows? “Judge, to be honest, I…” ), all those pages — some printed up sitting in boxes in the basement, some in my office and more recently taking up space in my computer — taught me something: I should outline my work and then write.
It’s time for me to get organized.
I have three novels written, all deeply flawed but, I believe, all with really interesting plots and characters. So what’s the problem? They don’t move. They don’t have the tension novels need to keep the reader interested.
Wow. I know. Now what do I do? Where do I go? Who’s on first.
Well, what I should do is quit writing about how/why/when to write and start writing.
First, a cup of coffee? Let the dog out?
You understand fully. And so do I. So will I or won’t I get to work? Will you?
I’ll keep you posted.
Maureen Mertens contributed this article.