Finding your writing process is a balance of things.
It is the process of knowing what kind of time you have to write. It is the process of knowing yourself well enough to know when you write – and it’s trusting yourself to do it.
I have been writing my whole life. But until this summer, I’d been floundering around in my own fears. Forcing myself to write when it wasn’t productive, and thus, actually making my writing and my progress worse.
So I’m going to tell you about how I found my process, in case it helps you find yours.
I am not a morning person. This is one of those things that I have known about myself for a very long time – and until very recently, I did not have the choice in when and how I woke up.
But the last year has allowed me to shift when and how I do things. Working as the Community Manager for Storium means that I have a FT paying gig, it means that after I am done working for storium, I can hustle, but I can also write.
And writing is my job.
In the last year, I’ve written a book (Dead Scare) I’m in the middle of two more (Fate Accessibility and The Novel) and I’ve contributed pieces to various games, in addition to writing short fiction. One piece of which I’ve sold (But I can’t tell you where yet.)
Until this month, though, I was doing this all and forcing myself to write when it didn’t work for me, stressing myself out over feeling guilty for not writing in the mornings, and generally making my own life harder.
As of this August, I made a choice. One that not everyone can make – but I’m fortunate enough to be able to do so. And so I writing in the morning. I do my Storium work then. I attend a freelancers morning meeting. I watch tv, and I outline Feminist Sonar posts. But I don’t write.
I write after lunch.
Because my best writing it turns out, is done between the hours of 1pm and 6pm. I’ve actually been hitting my writing goals, and making progress on ALL THE PROJECTS that I have on my plate. It’s given me a chance to write things to submit elsewhere, too. Because I’m no longer torturing myself, I’m actually getting work done.
Not everyone is a full time writer (and not everyone wants to be) nor is everyone’s process the same.
But the advice I can give you (and the advice I have heard from other writers) is that the key to writing is not just TO WRITE but to forgive yourself when you can’t
Not every day is a banner day. Not every hour of the day is meant to be for writing – but if you find the space and the time and the process, you can write.
It turns out that for me, knowing myself well enough to acknowledge that I can’t write in the mornings (and that I’ll just beat myself up if I expect it) makes me a better writer.