Hello to all the people participating in NANOWRIMO this year!
Sorry I couldn’t join in the fun, but I have too many irons in the fire right now, and not enough asbestos gloves.
But you look good. Keep it up.
Thinking about the effort that goes into even coming close to completing National Novel Writing Month got me thinking about process.
I’ve spent more than 20 years now trying to figure out mine. I’m still working, although I’ve got it mostly nailed down. Now if it will only stop squirming…
There are plenty of people out there, writers and not, who give advice about process.
In fact, you can’t throw a pinch of salt over your shoulder without hitting a handful of writers who will each have a different way that, if you don’t follow it, you’re – dare I say it? – not a real writer.
And they’re wrong.
All of them.
Truth is, if you write and keep writing, you’re a fekkin’ writer. And no one can say otherwise. (There is a difference between writer, published, and successful – that should be obvious based on their descriptors.)
But, besides the point of what makes someone a real writer, the more important thing to note is that we all have a different process for writing.
All of us.
Oh, yours, mine, and half the people we know might have similarities, but they’re not the same.
Some writers do well with structure. They perform better with the daily discipline of sitting down and hammering out words.
Some writers don’t.
Some writers, like me, really can only write everyday under certain special circumstances.
(I found out, last year, that NANOWRIMO wasn’t one of them. If it is for you, that’s awesome.)
Here’s the thing: it is impossible to compare two unlike things.
We can juxtapose. We can analyze the differences and similarities.
But when you’re comparing an apple to an orange, how do you judge? By what standard?
And thereby hangs a tale.
We can’t. All we can do is point out where methods intersect and diverge.
If you want a good rule for whether or not your process is working, or good, or whatever, I’ll offer this:
Does it let you get the work done?
If the answer is yes, then it’s working for you. Truth be told, that’s all that matters – if it works for you.
Maybe you write everyday and maybe you don’t.
(Personally, I don’t. But, like I said, lots of irons in the fire.)
Are you doing the writing? Are you finishing your projects?
That’s the metric you should gauge your process by. If it isn’t letting you do the work, and complete it, then maybe you want to examine your process and try out different methods.
(Free advice is usually worth what you pay for it.)
Anyways, for all of you banging away at your NANOWRIMO word count goals, and all of you staring out into space thinking about what comes next, and everyone in between, I hope your writing goes well. I hope, fast or slow, steady or intermittent, you’re taking the time to enjoy this weird activity we can’t not do.
And since we can’t help ourselves but write, we might as well enjoy it while we do.
Until next time…