In past posts I’ve explained my own writing process and have shared methods to get out of those writer problems like writers’ block, story boarding, and world building. Yet, it’s soemtimes still difficult to understand how to permanently change your writing process. How can we, as writers, change for the better? How does our writing process reflect our strengths and weaknesses? How can we use our writing process to better ourselves?
As a writing consultant in my undergrad (and hopefully as I continue into my MFA!) the focus in our practice was ALWAYS on the writer and their process. In the Writing Center, we believe that by bettering the writing process and guiding the writer, then the writing itself will naturally reflect the writer’s unique intelligence, voice, and style. Similarly as creative writers, we must always be prepared and open to changing or altering our writing style so as to benefit our process and our product.
First and foremost, keep what works for you!
While making some radical changes to your writing process may be the best option for you, this doesn’t mean that you should get rid of all your steps. Many of the methods you have are probably super helpful and over time it’s likely that you’ve shaped them to fit into your schedule or persona. If these methods work, then keep them!
Second, think about the things that bug you.
Are you primarily writing in notebooks and want to transfer to a digital writing space? Do you feel unorganized? Are there spaces in your home or city where you feel uncomfortable writing?
Keep track of the things that you’re unsatisfied with and ask yourelf why these things bug you so much.
Next, start looking for solutions.
Some of the solutions may be easy to find: buy some file folders, clean up your desk, or get a device that is comfortable to write on with a good word processor. However, other solutions may take time to develop.
If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable in your usual writing space, you may want to start looking for a new area to write. Maybe this means finding somewhere away from family and friends, or maybe it means making your office a little more homey (or minimalistic!). Other solutions to your writing process can also be researched on search engines or social media. Personally, many of my solutions nd inspiratios have come from Pinterest.
What about those little thingse parts that are helpful but annoying?
Yeah, we all have them. There might be some aspects of your writing process that are in the middle: they’re annoying habits but they’re really helpful. It’s okay to have these things that are “in the middle,” they can add some diversity to your writing process.
Think about some things that are helpful but annoying. Maybe it’s how you make a list or how you approach your writing. Maybe it’s even a frame of mind. Regardless of what it is, altering how to complete this step of your process may help.
Some ideas for these can be found on social media and search engines. Look up exactly what you’re doing and see the variations of how people complete this step of writing. Their variations may inspire some small changes.
Another option is try and radically change something. Take the aspect of your process that is annoying but helpful and do something completely different. Frame of mind is depressing? Go somewhere happy or turn on music and sing and dance before your sit down to write. Don’t like listening to music because it’s sometimes distracting? Listen to complete silence or listen to a new kind of music. From here, you can take what works and plug it into your original process.
Generally speaking, your writing process will also change over time with moves to new places, trips to new countries, or newfound knowledge. This is okay! Just remember that when you want to critically evaluate your writing process and develop it, approach it with patience.
Being good at writing isn’t a talent, it’s a skill that you get better at with time. By carefully evaluating your relationship to writing, you can better develop your skills.