Are you a flaky writer? That’s OK; many creative people are flakes. Sadly, flaky writers fail to master their writing process.
Its worth learning to streamline your process, because if you can’t manage your creativity and get stuff done you’ll miss out on great opportunities. You may also find that days and weeks go by when you accomplish zero.
Your writing process: build habits
Your writing success is mostly a matter of habit. A little luck doesn’t hurt, but without effective habits, any success will be short-lived.
It’s worth reading the above article for the ten most effective habits for writers.
As a commercial writer, your writing process involves three things:
- Developing ideas;
- Managing your creativity; and
1. Ideas sell, in fiction and nonfiction
Ideas SELL. Ideas aren’t everything. You must execute them efficiently, but without good ideas, your writing won’t sell.
I’m developing a program on writing the Mystery, Thriller & Suspense (MTS) genres. These genres depend on ideas. I did a little research for the program on novels which are bestsellers because of their must-read ideas.
Here’s a tiny excerpt from the program…
Consider bestselling examples of the MTS genres. The novels which hit the bestseller lists ALL have something unique about the plot.
The best example of this which springs readily to mind is Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code. A huge bestseller since its April 2003 release, the novel made all Brown’s other books bestsellers too. It featured a weird but irresistible crime. (I’m sure Dan Brown was delighted when he hit on the wonderful idea for the book.)
Also, consider Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. This book was a huge bestseller, and launched a new sub-genre, the domestic thriller.
Both books became movies.
Agatha Christie’s novels are read with pleasure many years after their first publication — because of the crimes. (Ideas, that is.)
Christie spent a lot of time hiding her murderers by creating intricate puzzles. I’m fascinated to see that Agatha Christie’s Death On The Nile is still selling well. Death On The Nile was first published in 1937 and was based on irresistible ideas. (Christie’s husband was an archaeologist.)
Just for the heck of it I checked out current estimated sales for Death On The Nile in Publisher Rocket:
Daily sales: $3,624
Monthly sales: $25,038
Not bad for a novel written in the 1930s. 🙂
I encourage you to make developing ideas a big part of your writing process.
2. Creativity: harness your imagination
Once you’ve captured a wonderful idea, you’ll need to be creative in executing it, so harnessing your imagination forms a big part of your writing process.
When you gain easy access to your imagination, you can be creative on demand.
An imaginative mind state is focused. But it’s also loose — free wheeling, and dream-like.
Repetitive tasks which don’t require much thinking help to trigger creativity. For example, I go for a drive if I’m stuck on a plot point. Other writers do household chores, or go swimming.
3. Draft your writing: write first, revise and edit later
Can you sit down at your desk (or on the sofa) and write? Do you have a writing process to draft your writing, so that writing is a joy, rather than torture?
We can put immense pressure on ourselves when we write.
This is always a mistake. Just write. Look on all the writing you do as “making mud”. Be exuberant and messy.
You can do a lot with your mud. Just as you can build entire houses with mud bricks, you can write articles, novels, nonfiction books, short stories, essays, memoirs – in short, you can write anything and everything, if you make the basic building material, the “mud” first.
“Mud” is the basis of ALL your writing. You can edit later.
By the way, editing’s much easier when you use an app for the final edits.
When you have a writing process that’s efficient, you’ll be happier, as well as more productive
If you’re a commercial writer, you need an efficient and enjoyable writing process. Use the above tips to develop a process that works for you.
I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.More info →
What if you could create AND sell an ebook or other product in just eight hours? The product could be anything: a Kindle ebook, a collection of articles, a short story… a new writing service for your clients. This program will show you how to think outside the box, get creative — and SELL what you create.More info →