What works for one writer may not work for other writers and that’s okay
Every writer has a different method of writing. I know that because many of you tell me.
- Schedule: Some write every day (like me) and others do not.
- Motivation: Others wait for inspiration and some sit down and write regardless of how they feel (like me).
- Target Date: Some need a deadline to spur them on and others do not (like me—though a deadline does amp up my motivation).
- Writing Mode: Others spew out a quick rough draft and fix it later, while some write with more intention to produce a reasonably good first draft (my goal).
- Time of Day: Some write in the morning (like me) and others at night or random times (I occasionally do that, too).
- Planning: Next are those who strategize before they write (like me) versus those who figure it out as they go. Many people call these two modes plotters and pantsers (writing by the seat of your pants), but I prefer the labels of outliners and discovery writers. They sound nicer.
- Length of First Draft: Another consideration is writing long or writing short. That is, some writers write long first drafts and then edit them down. Others write shorter first drafts and then add to it. I’m neither. I have a target length in mind and aim to hit it.
The point is we all go about our writing differently.
I write every day in the morning, even if I don’t feel like it, work to produce a good first draft from an outline (be it written or in my head), write to hit a target length, and most don’t need deadlines. But that doesn’t mean you have to follow my example. It simply means this is what works for me – in this season of my career. If this works for you, too, then great. But if it doesn’t, then figure out what does work and then follow it, adjusting as needed along the way.
There is no one correct way to write; we can all learn from each other’s processes. The only error is trying to force ourselves into a mold that doesn’t fit us.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.