How do you do it? Write… that is.

I have a bad habit. Well, I have many bad habits, but my biggest ‘writing’ bad habit is working on too many things at once. I write and write and write and then stop and start something else while working on that first project. multitasking

Yes, it is as tiring as it sounds. Like right now, I should be typing up a sci-fi short story, but I’m working away on this post. Why? Because I’m an idiot. Yes, ah no. Because I’m afraid that if I don’t work my butt off then the creative juices will dry up. It is much harder to tap the creative well, then it is to just clear aside the debris once in a while to keep the flow moving. Believe me I KNOW! I also have two novels waiting on some editing, one is with my husband for his copy edit and a friend is reading yet another and I am updating the edits as they both go along.

My drug of choice at this moment is coffee. I am out of chocolate and my husband drank all of the wine! Grrr. Anyway. I was talking to a writer friend about how he goes about starting a project, you know after the idea and research phase. He starts his work in a very structured and methodical way. Working with a plot structure, summary and writing the book from the front to back.

22731939248_68db7716e9_o (1)

This is exactly what I looked like.

After I schooled my face into something that didn’t resemble complete shock and awe, I swore and said – ‘Really? Why doesn’t my brain work like that?’ Because I tried hard, really hard, and it doesn’t respond to structure at all. Also he works on one thing at a time! Crazy talk!

I’m one of those fly by the seat of your pants writers – to an extent. I write my way into a novel. I get my idea and skip the research stage and get the story out on paper. Then I go back and find any research I need – if any. It kind of just flows out of me, sometimes quicker than I can write. I love the panicked frenzy of a good chapter as I scribble it out onto the page. I also don’t write sequentially, not until I have about half a novel worth of chapters. I write the big events, the sweet moments, the sad bits and then I started from the beginning. Joining chapters together, bringing characters to life and making sure the twists and turns aren’t obvious. Writing this way also gives me a feel of the characters so that I can write a profile for them.fictional

I know writers usually get the character profiles done at the beginning. But to me the characters are like new friends. They revel bits and pieces of themselves during the writing. I don’t know if this is ‘right’ but it works for me. Sometimes they surprise me and don’t turn out like I expected, but I don’t try and categorise them into good and bad characters. It’s their influences and past that shape them and I try not to get too deep into this until I see what they are like.

What is your writing process? Do you like to graph the plot points and make a plan? Or do you throw caution to the wind and do whatever feels good that day? If you write poetry, how do you go about it? I have zero idea and talent in this area. 

Come on over and friend me on Facebook at Lisa Lancaster. 

Photo by Damien Gadel via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons
Photo by Quick Meme 
Photo by Craig Sunter  via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons



41 thoughts on “How do you do it? Write… that is.

  1. I’m pretty much the same as you. I get an idea and I sit and write a chapter, then I’ll go back edit it, add dialogue and description, delete and add parts and just go with it. Maybe that’s why I have 3 unfinished novels on the go! Also I get distracted by other ideas so I have to get them down too. My marriage broke up so I stopped writing for a while and put the novels on hold but I’m feeling good to go on them again. As for poems again alot have been spurred lately by my split but generally something I see or hear will spark something off. I’ll let that flow out too then edit it if needed. Think I need more planning and structure and things will get better. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think something as life changing as a marriage split is a good reason to put things on hold. I can not write poetry and I envy anyone that can! Oh gosh I have three novels in editing and am currently working on an edit for a short story. I need to focus, so much to do so little writing time! Kind of glad I’m not the only one 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it’s pretty obvious that I always plot out my fifty word stories (or quite short novels as I like to call them) in huge detail, with diagrams and charts showing all the different shifts in points of view, pacing and plot twists. These background documents stretch for several thousand words which I then boil down to just fifty! I mean, people think I’m just lazy….they’ve no idea…..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow! Well, don’t I feel like a fraud with my novels and no plan lol! The time that must take you to cut out every unnecessary word or plot point. I knew Albert was playing a very long end game! I bet there is many a diagram for him. This gave me a big laugh this morning!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I never plan to be honest, not in detail at least. I did try a novel once – fairly carefully planned – but 60,000 words later it ended up in the bin. It was truly shocking – as in bad, not as in horror…..interesting post – thanks for raising the question; got me thinking about all this again….

        Liked by 1 person

      • It could not have been that bad. Firsts drafts are always terrible. They are supposed to be. Hopefully you threw it in a metaphorical bin and can pull it back out? I’m glad it got you thinking about it again.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ah no – a real bin outside my back door. No regrets. Honestly. It was truly, laughably, uncomfortably the worst thing. Makes me smile to think of it now….but I think you have to write loads and loads of words before you’re allowed to write anything decent, kind of like miles on the legs for a runner (so I’m reliable informed….) – you know, a writer writes; all that stuff….but hey, what do I know?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I honestly skip the “planning” stage because if I overthink a story, its going to come out sounding very artificial. I just like to sit down and let my ideas flow 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting, i normally start with an entire day where i just think, craft plan.. next day right roughly then last step polish the work and bring that masterpiece out. – Cezane

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is such an organised way to work! I am in awe of people who can do this. I’m a bit of a scatterbrain to be honest. I am the kind of person who google’s – how to be more organised. It’s a little worrying lol!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hahah. Its cute too. I don’t think your alone. Being that kind of a person is more of a gift than anything else. It means you have more fight in your pathway to get what you want and if you fight for it, nature… God blesses you even more for your hardwork that you add on your talent. ☺ – Cezane

        Liked by 1 person

  5. On my own, I’m a pantser with a plan. A general plan. Usually including a Beginning and an End. Then all I have to do is take one step at a time to find my way from B to E, although there’s no guarantee that E will be even close to what I originally imagined. The steps lead where the steps lead.

    But I also have a writing partner, Robb, and together we are marginally more organized than either of us alone. We spent two years tossing ideas back and forth about what project we should work on together after LOST ended and our Wednesday night phone conversations during commercial breaks to speculate, re-hash, and predict had no more reason for being. When we finally found an idea that spoke to both of us on a personal and universal scale, we spent two weeks “throwing paint at the wall” to see where this idea wanted us to take it. And being of two minds — even though we agreed — we worked at marking a path we both would follow, and finished the first book of a young adult scifi trilogy.

    Happily, for both of us, the editing and rewrites fall to me for a unifying voice. Then Robb does another review, and it’s back and forth as long as it takes to get the work right, so we can re-submit it to the agent who asked us to.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Excess plotting kills a story dead for me. It totally constricts the creative process because already you are forced to go from a to b to c etc.
    I get a solid idea and it flows out, simple as that.
    The only way plotting is beneficial is if writing nonfic that requires loads of research, or if a story is gargantuan eg GoT or Harry Potter where tracking storylines and characters is tricky to cope with in the mind alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ugh, I totally relate. For short things, I’ve no problem pantsing. I’d say the same about the beginning of all my projects, but truly, 70k words into a novel, things take a turn for me, and I am now working on structure ONE AT A TIME. I have many works in process and I believe it is a direct cause of not planning — How can I finish when I don’t know where I’m going? Have I clued enough? Have I dropped enough breadcrumbs? Is all that speed writing good? Nope, organization is where it’s at for long work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Logically I know this! I need to work on that discipline of focussing and forcing myself to give my stories enough credit to get them finished. Which unfortunately includes the dreaded editing, right! I’m going to give that a go Joey! Starting today! 😇


  8. I’ve thought about this for awhile now and I have to say I used to be like you, but always found I wasn’t completing anything. If get stuck, find something new and exciting, and then abandon my project. I forced myself to stop. I like to live in my character’s heads, and to do that, it takes writing from start to finish (knowing the stepping stones along the way). The dreaded plot bunnies are something to watch out for. If one strikes, I’ll write a short story, or a synopsis of the idea to quiet it just enough until I can get to it. Every writer is different and I’m happy you have a process you enjoy.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Reblogged this on a cornered gurl and commented:
    Lisa Lancaster, my good people. My favorite Australian. She’s gotta mountain held hostage in that mind of hers, amongst other things. She asks the question, “What’s your writing process?”

    Of course, I’m paraphrasing, but it’s a darn good question. Give her a read, she’ll blow that mind of yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I sit

    And, I write.

    That’s about it. It all just comes pouring outta me.

    No rhyme, no reason, I must attack it when I feel it though, let it loose. I’m fortunate. Many cannot, do not have it as easy.

    I’m reblogging this because you’re awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

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