There is nothing quite like the feeling of a story gaining traction. It can be more thrilling than riding a roller coaster. And I love roller coasters. Just as with writing, roller coasters have their ups and downs. There is the wait in line for to ride it, then its over too quickly.
I have struggled with writing the sequel to my novel for the past year. There was something missing, a plot point or character that just would not work. But I was unable to see it. I was experimenting with this one and it just was not working. Some parts of the plot were working but others parts just would not gel.
So I worked on it here and there, writing and rewriting. Creating outlines, note cards and then throwing them out because none of it made much sense to the story. Other times I paused working on it, allowing my brain to work on it subconsciencely.
Then it came to me while watching a movie, I knew exactly why the story wasn’t working and what had to be done. It meant losing a character entirely. Which is always hard as us writers do become quite attached to them. Losing him meant another character comes out of the shadows.
This is how writing works. The breakthroughs coming after several drafts, reworking plot points and going back and forth on what will work in the story. This breakthrough is wonderful but also means having to nearly start over. It helps that the it has good bones, so not everything needs to change.
This effort is worth it. It is worth seeing something through.
Keep writing the story, rewriting and pausing if needed. The words will come and when they do, be prepared for a flood of them to come. Figuring out a stuck plot point can be so wonderful. It is worth the hardship of getting through those sticky plot points.
The writing process is a complicated, highly individualized concept. It is something that takes time to discover for oneself. Discovering what this looks for you looks different for everyone.
It takes time for me. This writing thing. It is so hard and draining. I often end up putting aside what I’m working for periods of time. I don’t understand why my characters are why the way they are. At least not until it’s been revealed to me.
What I’ve learned is that it takes time for the story to reveal itself.[Tweet “What I’ve learned is that it takes time for the story to reveal itself.”]
Once you understand what works best for you, honor it. Take away those distractions that hinder you. Let the work speak to your heart.
It takes work. In my process, I have to work at it. The breakthroughs only come after pushing through the hard parts. The dead ends and circles eventually lead to the solutions. Setting aside the time and sticking to a schedule is also key.
Honoring your process means being consistent with writing. It means working through crap drafts and setting aside projects when it is needed. It means protecting your time, saying no to invitations and obligations.
Another thing, what works for one writer may not work for yourself. This is part of the process, figuring out if the early morning works for you or not. For myself, I find I work best late afternoon to evenings. Some prefer a tight outline while mine are more loose. I also don’t write everyday. It’s just not possible with my schedule. Instead I schedule a few days a week where I can write, when I know I won’t be hurried or too distracted by the rest of my life.
It will take trial and error. But you’ll discover what works best. Once you do, honor it.