One of my favorite things to do when I discover a new author, is to head to their website and learn about their craft. How do they write? What is their routine? What works and doesn't? What have the learned and/or celebrated? It's fascinating to learn how others work because everyone is so different. Some are "pantsers" who don't plot anything in advance and just sit down and write. Others are "plotters" who like the name, plot out the chapters before writing. Some are half-and-half, a little of both. Some are turtle writers, who take their time. None are right or wrong. Maybe I'm just nosy, but mainly I think I am always looking for ways to connect with other writers but also for new ideas. You never know when something can spark a idea, that turns into a full-blown story. After all, my debut story, Challenge Accepted, was fueled by my husband's worn and faded Toledo Mudhen's hat.
My routine is actually pretty loose. What I've recently started doing--which has helped me a lot with organization-- is to create a google sheet where I tracked dates, word count, and how many words are left until I reach my goal. And yes, I color code the shit out of it because color coding is my jam.
Once I get this set up, I sit down and write. As I said before, a single idea, quote, movie, photo, interaction with strangers, etc. can spark an idea. The motivation for Take a Chance on Me actually stemmed from seeing a couple hiking. They were so in sync--playfully swatting at each other and flirting with such ease, I knew they had known each other for a long time. Bam. I created Kate and Brody and my original opening scene (which got edited out) was of them hiking and Kate saw a rattlesnake (a real concern in Arizona) and Brody giving her shit for freaking out. Anyway, I digress.
I just signed a contract for my sixth book to be published (Omg, yay) and I’ve learned quite a bit about my writing style and what works for me. If you know me at all, you wouldn’t be surprised to know I’m a “panster” and don’t plan each chapter. I’ve tried that--but when I would get to the middle, the original plan would be meaningless because my characters would end up doing what they want. It’s cheesy, I know, but it doesn’t make it less true. My upcoming release next June, Whiskey Surprises, had an entirely different ending when I wanted to sit down and write it. It was a bit of a shock (but definitely better for the characters) for me to see how it ended. But besides the initial meet-cute, and the general happy ending, the middle is all the fun part.
Maybe I’m just nosy when I read (stalk) how other writers go about their craft, but I’m always looking for a new idea. So, I wanted to share three things I’ve accepted as I’ve grown as a writer.
If you’ve read this far, awesome. Writing is amazing and heartbreaking, so different for every person, and one of the best things in the world. There is no right or wrong way to write. So if you have the itch, or want to try it out, just do it. Write.