My Writing Process, by Veronica

You can't put more than three writers together for long without the question sprouting up: what's your process? The sister-questions often follow. When do you write? Where do you write? Do you write with music? Do you outline? So here goes, my answers on process:
Where? I have a dedicated space for my writing, but I don't always work there. I'll go through phases of "favorite spots" around the house, or even at a local coffee shop. The one constant? Leo, my laptop. Leo is my writing "place." Seriously. If I have my laptop, I'm good to go.
Music? Sometimes. The right song can move me to tears if I'm in the mood, and in the zone. I do put together playlists for each WIP, and several scenes in my manuscript have a dedicated theme song. But just as often as listening to music, I write with the background noise of half a dozen kids running through the house and my dog barking after them.
Outline or Seat of the Pants Writing? Now we're getting into the meaty subjects. I tend to lean towards the outlining end of the spectrum. Last Spring, I took a wonderful class with the brilliant Lynn Hightower through UCLA Extension. It was called, "Novel Planning: Bringing Order Out of Chaos." The course introduced me to a great process for blocking out essential pieces of information before the actual writing. Sort of like going on a cross-country road trip, Lynn's process showed me how to map out the places I wanted to hit along the way, without needing to commit to an exact route or timeframe. Because of that class, I was able to complete a full length YA manuscript in a year and a half, which is a pretty quick pace for me, halving the time I spent on my previous WIP.
When? Onto the biggie here. I think as writers we're always trying to gauge how long it takes us to get from HERE to THERE. But really, guys, we all know it takes a lot of time, right? The answer for me is I'm always writing. If I wake up in the morning and I can squeeze in an hour, I write. If my kids run over to the neighbors' house to play, I write. When school is in session and I'm not helping in the classroom, I write. Basically, if I'm not spending time with my family or doing essential task for our home or our school, I'm writing. I do try to find time for regular exercise, but really, part of me wonders if I run because it helps MY WRITING. And, of course, there are all those hours in the car or waiting in the carpool line or at a soccer practice that may not find me TYPING, but I'm still writing. Y'all know what I mean. When it gets in your mind, really crawls in there, then there's no getting away from your story or characters.
One thing I'd like to point out, and this echoes what Donna said in her post about process, is this: we all approach our writing in different ways and that's okay. Our methods are as diverse as our stories. I think the trick is to be flexible. Follow your inner compass on that road trip. Stop in Montana if you want to, or just point your car toward the horizon. However you do it, what's most important is enjoying the ride.
Road trip, anyone?


So glad you all got together to form this blog. Very helpful and informative. I look forward to returning!

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