Here are the answers from the questions in the comments about my writing process…thanks for asking them! And I promise that if you read the whole thing to the end, the blue hoodie will make sense. Now if that isn’t tantalizing…I just don’t know what is.
so did you know your book was “the one”. Im afraid I think every book of mine is “the one.” Kinda like when you dated a guy and were like “oh yeah, he is the one!” Then you break up and he’s a jerk and you think. “Why did I ever think that?”
I hope I’m answering this correctly, because I’m not sure which book of mine Shelli had in mind. The answer is, every book I’m writing I think is “the one.” As in, “the one I want to be writing right now.” I can’t write a book unless I’m enjoying doing it. As far as it being “the one” for anyone else–I never have a clue. I am completely incapable of being objective about my own work. Which is why I have readers who critique my stuff, and I make sure I have both readers who will be ultra-positive, and readers (especially Elaine) who will tear it apart in a very meticulous way.
How many rejections did you have ? Did you ever get to a point when you said “okay maybe I’m not that good a writer or this book is not as good as I think” How did you know your work would get published one day?
For my first book, I had a bunch of rejections, and then a revise and resubmit for a small publisher. I revised and resubmitted twice, and then it was finally accepted. I didn’t keep track of the number of rejection letters, and I didn’t save them (but there were a lot). I know people do that, but we were living in a tiny space and I just didn’t even want to devote one file folder to rejections. And I did think, “I’m not that good a writer.” All the time. I didn’t know my work would get published. I just hoped. And worked really, really hard (kept writing, writing, writing).
Do you edit/evaluate how strong the writing is as you go, or do you just write it and then edit or evaluate what to keep later on when you have a large section written?
When I’m drafting, I just draft. I write as fast as I want and I don’t worry about quality. I have to get the story out and have fun. I can edit forever (and I mean forever–I tinker with stuff until the last possible minute). So that first draft is really freeing and fun for me.
I am curious about your writing process and would find anything you post about it fascinating. Do you outline? How many drafts do you write? Do you edit as you go along? Or are you like me: just get the first draft over with and then go back and fix everything? These are the things I wonder about. And also, if I am normal for wondering about these things.
I don’t outline. I outline as I write, but never before I write. As I start writing, I see where the pieces are going to come together, and I’ll make a very basic outline that I change hundreds of times. I do dozens of drafts; I’m not even sure how many. I don’t edit as I go along. I just enjoy that first draft because that is my favorite part. It’s you and the story and the characters. And yes, you are totally normal!
And here is some random stuff about my writing process that no one asked but I’m going to tell you anyway:
I drink a lot of water while I’m writing. I don’t know why it makes me thirsty to write, but it does.
I wear a blue hoodie (similar to the one in the photo, but older) when I write because I write in a corner of my freezing cold basement. I am convinced the hoodie has magical powers because no matter what I’m wearing underneath–sweater, t-shirt, sweatshirt–the hoodie magically makes me just the right amount of warm to write. Warm enough that my fingers aren’t cold, but not so warm that I get dozy. Because I have a baby who has not slept through the night in eighteen months, it is very easy for me to get dozy.
I can’t listen to music when I write. I can when I’m editing, but not when I’m writing. I used to think I was alone in this, but when I found out that the brilliant M.T. Anderson can’t do it either, it made me feel better.
I’ve developed some minor carpal tunnel issues that have been alleviated by gel wrist rest for the keyboard and mousepad. So my desk looks like the desk of a very old person but it is so worth it.
What about everyone else? What are your writing/creative processes like? Do tell.