Finding a writing process can make the journey to becoming an author so much easier.
There are so many stages of writing a book and having a process filled with routines and checklists to follow can help make sure you do not miss a single step.
If you have been looking for guidance to creating a writing process, this article will cover what it is, why you need one, how to make one, and then take a look at how some famous authors tackle their own writing.
What Is A Writing Process?
The writing process includes everything that you will need to do to start putting your book together.
Some of the steps include:
- Editing and proofreading
Now, that does not mean you have to have the same process for each of those steps. Instead, you could have separate processes for each one of them.
For example, you could edit and revise only at coffee shops doing a checklist routine that is specific to that process. Then you could only write at a certain desk in your room.
Your process is your own, but you do need to find what works for you so you can get your body and mind into a routine.
Why You Need A Writing Process
If you simply wait until you feel motivated to write or edit your book, you might be waiting a long time to get it done.
“I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.”William Faulkner
Books are published due to routines and processes. Almost no famous author alive only writes when the motivation strikes.
Many creative people do not like the idea of putting rules and boundaries on how and when they create, but you will often need to in order to bring your writing to completion.
How To Find A Writing Process
#1 – List all the steps you will need
First, you will want to get a list of all of the steps it takes to bring a book from start to finished.
You can borrow from the bulleted list above or create your own for your own process.
It is also important to focus on each individual process at a time as you go through them. You do not want to jump ahead and worry about how you are going to handle publishing your book when you have not even finished your first chapter.
#2 – List ideas for ways you can tackle your processes
Then, you should get a list of all the possible ways you could write and different things you could test out so you can find the right process for you.
Some ideas to test:
- Did you write better in the morning or in the evening?
- Do you need silence or is background music okay?
- Do you write more when you are somewhere public or at home?
- Do you need coffee, tea, snacks, or something else?
- How does exercise help?
- Can you confidently hit a certain word count?
- Do you write better in a certain season of the year?
- Do you like to write with pen and paper, a computer, or a typewriter?
There are a ton of things you can test, but you should only test one or two at a time to be able to start to narrow things down.
#3 – Test, track, and repeat
This is where you really will put the rubber to the road and figure out how you work best.
Instead of just shooting in the dark every week, trying to “guess” when you will work at your best, you need to get methodical and analytical about it.
Take each of the things you try and keep track of what works or does not work.
Some routines might work better at different times in your life, too. For example, you might write better when it's warm and sunny out versus the dreary winter weather.
Writing Processes From Famous Writers
For some inspiration, let us take a second to go through some famous authors and what their writing processes and routines were.
You can't talk about writing routines without talking about Hemingway. He was known for being so prolific every morning waking up and hammering away at his typewriter. Even if he was violently hungover, it never stopped him from putting in the work no matter what.
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.Ernest Hemingway
His most valuable piece of writing advice is to make sure you stop writing when you know exactly where you will pick up the next day. According to him, you never want to stop when you are not sure of the next thing you are going to write, because then you will start the day with writer's block.
You need to be able to sit down and get right back into writing and push forward. This is Hemingway's advice to always being able to sit down and be able to keep showing up every day.
Stephen King is another one of those legendary writers when it comes to rock-solid writing routines. If you have not read his book On Writing, which is where he goes into detail on his writing routines (a must-read for any aspiring author), let's take a look at some of his tips from it.
At the time, had the daily goal of 2,000 words (or 6 pages) every single day.
Now, he says it is closer to 1,000 words a day (or at least four hours of writing).
20 hours a day, I live in the same reality that everybody else lives in. But for four hours a day, things change. And if you ever ask me how that happens or why it happens, I’d have to tell you, it’s as much a mystery to me as it is to anybody else.Stephen King
Ann Rule was one of the most prolific true crime writers of all time, writing 37 books throughout her career.. She wrote The Stranger Beside Me in 1980 which was about Ted Bundy, who she knew personally.
During her career, she wrote a book every nine months, give or take, which is incredibly prolific considering with true crime you need to spend more time researching and gathering your facts than writing.
As she said about her own process, “I write every day from 10 AM to 7 PM after walking 2-3 miles. I spend 4-5 solid months on research before I even begin writing. I write seven days a week, but I'm hoping to start taking weekends off.”
Sometimes you just have to make do with what you have.
When asked about her writing routine in the beginning of writing her books, she said, “I wrote in our basement, which used to be a garage; it was our rec room too. The kids would be fighting and watching TV while I wrote.”
Her advice for writers just starting out?
Writing is the same as stacking grains of sand on an ant hill. Make the most of the time you have to write, even if it's only an hour a day. Never think of a whole book — concentrate on 10 pages at a time. And don't put it off! My mom always said, “Someday when you kids are grown I will write.” She never did.Ann Rule
Ready to Start Writing?
You will not want to miss out on these writing prompts to help you smash past writer's block and start putting more words on the page.