One of the hardest parts of writing is figuring out HOW TO WRITE.
Is there like not a magical tree you can eat??? A special brand of coffee?? A particular font to use??? I’m confused that one can’t buy a premix like you can buy for cupcakes and just pour it on your head and bake for 35mins and — BOOM — novelist successfully at work.
Someone please fix this??? I think the world is broken.
Truth is, 76% of the writer’s life is just figuring out what works for YOU. Which is generally not works for everyone else and the 76 writing advice posts you just read. #Awkward. Sure we can glean tips from others! I DO ALL THE TIME. But the important thing is trial and error and like…lots more error…and then figuring out how you do things.
And then watching that all go up in flames 2 days alter because the unfortunate thing about writing processes is: they can be very fluid.
Look I just need a WRITER PACKET MIX. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP OUT.
But okay okay, let’s keep going, shall we? I’m scaring the children.
Today I’m answering 10 questions about my writing process!
And I’m actually linking up with my co-hosted Beautiful People * meme, which is designed for writers to join in! Gooooo see the original post here and IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO JOIN US. It ends on the last day of the month! This week we’re basically
crying interviewing ourselves. Which is great because talking about yourself is obviously the most fun topic out there.
I actually planned to post this + snippets of my Camp NaNoWriMo novel but you want to know a secret? Do you? Come here…shh now, come closer, I shall tell you —
I DIDN’T WRITE A CAMP NANO NOVEL AND THIS IS AWKWARD.
But considering there is still time…I hopefully will write a book over the weekend. I can literally feel 12 of you wanting to murder me right now. but don’t. Remember I’m the only Cait you’ve got, annoying as I am.
But if you want to know why I’ve left my Camp novel for so long, here is a brief recap of the insanity of my July:
- I wore out my laptop keyboard because apparently I “write too much” which is ridiculous, I mean doesn’t everyone do 600K of novels in 6 months???
- I had to wait for it to be replaced.
- General busyness with work, freelancing, and 52 life crises.
- My smol sister visited and took up, like, ALL OF MY FREE TIME.
- I just murdered myself with running injuries which ended with me lying in a pool of agony with humours similar to the dinosaurs’ right before they went extinct. (But I’m better now!)
- I HAVE BEEN BUSY TRYING TO EAT THE PLANETS ABOVE. **
That’s a lot of excuses, Cait. Chill already. ***
So let’s ignore my July-book-writing failures and just talk about ME. Which should be rapturing.
* If you want to know why I don’t join up with my OWN MEME very often it’s because, due to being agented, most of my writing projects are kind of secret at the moment. Not always though!! So I join in when I can!! Another reason is I have the memory of a grape that just went thrice through the dishwasher and I keep forgetting to link up.
** You can be anything you want to be, they said. So…Eater of Galaxies = me.
*** Spoiler: I do not have chill.
1. HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHICH PROJECT TO WORK ON?
I mostly decide by throwing my potential novels into a smol boxing ring and having them fight to the death for my attention while I languidly eat grapes and take a nap.
Okay, okay, okay. The OTHER ways I decide are either:
- I pick something I SHOULD be writing. Preferably with the intent of professionalism and pursuing publishing. And by “pursuing” I mean running around hollering with an axe. But I call this “working towards a career” and I take it seriously. Well. As seriously as I can while doing that whole “hollering around with an axe” thing.
- OR: I just write something for the sheer fun of it. This generally is full of dragons and people sassing themselves to death and, very likely, everyone being brutally murdered at the end or laying around in the sun eating cakes. I’m not joking. These things usually happen in the same novel.
I pick between the two depending on whether I need to be in Career Thinking Mode or Experimental Writer Mode. I try to rotate the two evenly. * And, no, I don’t write anything I don’t want to write, but some books are definitely more suited for potential publishing than others. Obviously. And I personally believe ALL writing is important (you learn from everything you write!) even if it’s just a “for fun” project. And I also secretly hope everything I ever write becomes world famous and I get rich. Obviously.
* This is a complete lie since I’ve written FOUR books “for me” this year and EDITED ONE book for career potential. Sheesh, Cait, do you have priorities or did you leave them in the dishwasher again?
2. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO FINISH A PROJECT?
- THINKING UP A NOVEL = this is suuuuper variable. My record is a 1 week. But lately I’ve been coming up with a book per month (full books!). But yet on the other hand I have one contemporary I’ve been thinking about for 5 months and STILL have no clue what it’s doing.
- OUTLINING = About 2 weeks.
- WRITING 1ST DRAFT = I average at 4 days, for say 110,000-words.
- EDITING / 2ND DRAFT = 30 days if I stop whining about it and actually do it.
But seriously I wrote a book in April that too me TWO WEEKS to think up, outline, and write (it was 100K + 20K outine!) and I just???? Have. no. chill.
That is not normal however.
(Although what is NORMAL for me????)
(Also NOTE: if you’re new here…I write so fast in in short compact times because I do nothing in the day EXCEPT write if I’m tackling a 1st draft. 2nd drafts are way way different. And I’m very lucky to be able to take the time off to do this! So it’s just my process and obviously not for everyone.)
3. DO YOU HAVE ANY ROUTINES TO PUT YOU IN THE WRITING MOOD?
I actually treat writing like “work”, so if I’m going to work — I WILL WRITE NO MATTER WHAT. I don’t wait for inspiration. I pick a day and time and I write.
Routines = my OTP.
I have a really really really tight routine. If I’m on one of my 4-day-write-a-novel sessions, I’ll have every single minute of the day mapped out and have word-counts to reach before certain times, etc. etc. MICROMANAGING???? ME??? HOW HILARIOUS.
4. WHAT TIME OF DAY DO YOU WRITE BEST?
When I write a 1st draft, I literally work from 8am till 11pm (WITH BREAKS OKAY I’M NOT A MACHINE AND I NEED SNACKS AND NAPS) and it’s like really hard to know when I’m writing the best????
In the morning = I write with more energy BUT I’m still warming up so I write a bucketful of nonsense.
5. ARE THERE ANY AUTHORS YOU THINK YOU HAVE A SIMILAR STYLE TO?
I THINK ABOUT THIS A LOT.
I’d like to say Maggie Stiefvater as she’s my #1 favourite author buuuuut….I think I’m more of a mix of like Sally Green (Half Bad was so EERILY ME) and maybe Jandy Nelson? A splash of Derek Landy perhaps? I’d like to think I have a bit of VE Schwab style humour but I’m probably deluding myself. Also probably a stray mouldy coconut struggling with a laptop.
6. WHY DID YOU START WRITING, AND WHY DO YOU KEEP WRITING?
STARTED = Most people have inspiring origin stories but…dude. I literally started because I was 12 and my sister was 7 and she was “writing” little books and getting SO MUCH ATTENTION for it and I was basically in the “Okay this is not on” mind frame. So I began. Funnily enough, I was the “Musician” at that point, and she the “Writer”. Now we’ve 100% swapped careers. SIBLINGS. GOTTA LOVE ‘EM. GOTTA STEAL FROM THEM.
KEPT GOING = I like to watch readers cry.
KEPT GOING = My brain is like a constant GO !! GO !! GO !! session of imagination and stories and I literally do not eXIST without creating something. I want to tell stories for a living. I want to walk into a bookstore and see my work. I want to write things that are dark and funny and brutal and inspiring. I want to buy a piece of banana cake and say “I WROTE A BOOK TO PAY FOR THIS” because it seems like a good life goal?????
7. WHAT’S THE HARDEST THING YOU’VE EVER WRITTEN?
- emotional scenes because UGH WHAT IS THE EMOTE
- romance scenes (my #1 editing note is always “where’s the romance cait why are you such a failure”)
- series finales
- THE FIRST SENTENCE OF ANYTHING EVER.
8. IS THERE A PROJECT YOU WANT TO TACKLE SOMEDAY BUT YOU DON’T FEEL READY YET?
I used to!! But I’m actually ABOUT TO ATTEMPT my ultimate “Life Project” which means I may be finished my life’s work before I’m 24 which seems awkward???? But I’m sure I’ll figure out something BIGGER to write soon.
But it will be a 5-book epic fantasy heist series and it has a really complex plot and I’m 500% sure I’m not good enough of a writer to tackle it yet, but you know what?! You learn from trying. And crying…and dying…?
9. WHAT WRITING GOALS DID YOU MAKE FOR 2017 AND HOW ARE THEY GOING?
So back in January, I listed my goals as:
- WRITE 2 BOOKS & EDIT 2 BOOKS: I have written 4 books and edited 1 book…but there’s still time right??! I think I’m slaying this one. Also I’m an insufferably overachiever. Someone smother me. ✓ ✗
- WRITE A SEQUEL: I’ve written TWO sequels. Because apparently if you say “simple goal” I hear “you must do twice as much as required”. ✓
- GET SERIOUS ABOUT WRITING ADULT FANTASY: I’ve outlined that 5-book adult epic fantasy series! So that’s serious!! I also wrote 2 adult books but they were supposed to be YA. I just think I ended up being a bit more bloody than is strictly allowed for The Smol Children’s Eyes™. My bad. ✓
Wow so what do I do for the rest of the year.
Literally nothing is more me.
okay so i’m super curious to hear about YOUR writing processes!! do you think you’ve found “the process” for you??? or are you still searching?!? and also (humour me) if you’ve read any of my writing: what authors would YOU say I’m similar to? and tell me what authors YOU are inspired by/have similar styles!?? *