Uncategorized, Writing Rambles

Lady Writer

I’m doing this workshop with author Nova Ren Suma. If you don’t know her books yet, or haven’t found her blog, you can follow my links below. She is brilliant, as a writer, and supremely cool as a person.

Nova stuff:


Goodreads for her books Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone 

Twitter handle @novaren

Someone in the workshop, which is also full of talented budding writers, requested we share our specific writing process. I was formulating my response, and decided it would make a great blog post. Or, a decent one anyway.

The writing process is as subjective as reading can be. There is no ONE RIGHT WAY, just as there is no ONE RIGHT OPINION. By necessity, not desire, I am a very flexible writer. Which is why my process must be discussed in two parts.

New York:

We lived in Brooklyn for close to two years. I began writing my novel sometime in October of 2011. At that point I was writing during my son’s naps. I made my goal 1500 words a day. I usually achieved that, and if I didn’t, I tried to make up for it. (FYI this may have contributed to by first draft’s utter shittiness.) But I completed the first draft at 72,000 words in April of 2012. Then the revisions began, or the rewrites, or the slashings. Over the summer I got a college student friend of a very reliable friend to come keep my son five hours a day, three days a week. Then my son would nap, so I could write more.

That writing took place at a cafe. I wrote, tried to decipher the wonder of Twitter, and blogged, in the bustle. I have learned to tune everything out when writing. (Like, right now, my son is jumping up and down beside me on the couch. I DONT CARE.) Unfortunately, people in my life seem annoyed by my single-mindedness. I have a sibling who now thinks my only response to life-altering news is, “Umm-hmm, that’s interesting.” Followed by the tapping of keys.

We traveled a lot during our time in NYC. I wrote on airplanes, library’s, the obgyn. This meant that I also had to write through my exhaustion, or boredom, or desire to have some fun.


(Current writing process, most of the time. Only been this way four weeks.)

Monday, Wednesday, & Friday my son attends Montessori school. I write pretty much the entire time he is there. Sometimes, I make my dear husband go get him from school to eek out a few more minutes. I have a dedicated workspace that may be my favorite place in the world. I have written about it before on my blog here. It’s up a ladder on the thrid floor of our house which overlooks an exspanse of oak trees budding out for spring.

My productivity is shocking in this environment. My husband has recently asked me, (to my standard self-absorbed response) if make-up and showering had gone out the window in the light grand inspiration.

I can honestly say, though, that I consider each incarnation of my writing process to be worthwhile. Being able to write no matter where you are and what is going on is really important. Certain kinds of writing are better in certain places. Certain foods and drink can encourage certain words and emotions, just like music can. I drank moonshine once for character development. (Not reccommended.) But all forms, all processes, are valid.

I don’t plot. I spend a lot of time revising and mulling because of this. At this stage in revision I do plan scenes and subsequent scenes when a rewrite is in order. I do a lot of jotting, and going, “Yeah, that’s better. I don’t want to punch that scene in the groin anymore.”

To each his own.

So, what’s your process? If you care to share.

7 thoughts on “Processes

  1. I tend to work very late at night, when the house is finally quiet and also when my husband and son are either watching or participating in sports, which keeps them occupied and gives me some free time. As far as my process, I’m an outliner , I make copious amounts of notes, and I tend to mull things over a lot. Thanks for sharing your process. Its interesting to see what works for other people.

    1. I am a major muller, as well. I do a lot of talking (to myself, in my head, to my husband) to work things out. Thanks for reading and sharing!

  2. It sounds like we have a similar process. I’d like to be more of a before I start plotter, but it doesn’t seem to work out that way for me. Imaginary Girls is a good book. The class sounds great.

    1. I agree. Plotting has it’s place, but for me it doesn’t seem to come until the end. I have “planned” how scenes will progress in revision, and usually I manage to stick to that. Not always. Also, the class is a blast.

    1. I totally understand about rough drafts. They are new and shiny, full of possibility and unknowns. However, revision is where you find the truth. It’s where you peel back the layers of what you want your writing to be and see what it really is. It’s your guts. I sometimes feel addicted to revising. Thank you for following and complementing!!

  3. These days, I tend to be a sprinter. So I’ll work for 15, then take a break (and by “break” I mean do one of the other things), work for another 15, take another break…I find I’m wasting way less time on the internet lately, now that I’m working with smaller chunks of time, because I’m not trying to force myself to focus longer than my attention span allows.

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