Own your process. Today, I taped three more shows of The Writer’s Dream, a little public access show I moderate out in East Hampton, and one of the writers was telling me that she tends to “overwrite” her books — meaning she likes to write and write and write and then go back, during the editing process, and weed out all the extraneous stuff. She decides what stays and what should go. That’s how she finds her story. I, on the other hand, have the opposite process. Perhaps it has to do with my journalism background, but I tend to write the bare bones of my story — just the facts, ma’am — and then during the editing process, I go back and flesh out, deepen, illustrate and make come alive. For me, the editing is where the “magic” of writing happens, in creating those little details.
Another writer today told me that he will not finish a writing session until he has created an entire scene, or what he calls an “episode.” Whether it takes one hour or 18, he’ll sit there and bang it out. I, however, often have to write in blocks of time, depending upon how busy I am on any given day. And if I don’t have much time, I’ll squeeze my writing in wherever possible — if I have a free half hour, perhaps I’ll take a look at a scene that’s giving me trouble instead of just plowing ahead with my story. For me, every little bit counts. And sometimes it’s really little.
Every writer has his or her own way of doing things, as it should be. There’s no one right way to write. Whatever your process is, if it works for you, stick with it, own it and love every second of it.