I am one of countless writers out in the world. Some are indie writers, some have found publishers, and still others haven’t even attempted to be published yet. Not only are there more writers than ever out there, but there are more writing resources than ever as well.
Through various social media channels, I have seen a lot of writers giving their accounts, advice, and experiences and, to be honest, it sometimes frightens me. Right? It’s a strange reaction, but it’s not because all of the information is overwhelming.
It’s because I don’t do 97% of it.
Let’s not even speak of editing. I do edit and, while I can’t afford professional editing services, I think the end product is pretty damn good. No, I totally do follow a lot of the editing tips, tricks, and processes out there.
But the writing…my writing process, I feel, is quite a bit different than a lot of other authors’ processes. Some days, I’m all like “Yeah! This totally works for me and it’s great!” Other days, I’m all like “Yeah! This works for me…and it’s so different from everyone else that I feel like a novice and is this really going to be good enough for the reader because it’s not formulaic and I didn’t plan it out and maybe it meanders and there isn’t enough conflict…” and on and on until I lock up and have to reboot.
Let me break it down.
Many writers have an outline: I don’t. Most times, I know how the book begins and how it ends. I have some things I want to stick in the middle but, other than that, there is no pre-planning. How many chapters will it be? What will its length be? I don’t know. Let me write it and we’ll find out.
Many writers follow a formula: For example: hero rises, meets with some success, falters and questions him/herself, almost loses, fights back and wins–possibly because his mother’s name was Martha. Me? I don’t believe I’ve ever written anything that truly follows a pattern. Why? Because…
Many writers have structure: And I don’t. I don’t even really know what is going to happen in a chapter until it’s written. That’s sort of an exaggeration but it’s pretty accurate. Did I mean to kill that character? Yes? Maybe…no, it just happened, so deal with it.
Look, The Call of Chaos doesn’t even have a main bad guy! Well, okay, it does have a bad guy–if you consider the Realm itself a bad guy, but that makes for a terrible end boss fight. Punching the ground isn’t very exciting.
Those are just a few examples.
Now, anyone reading this may be like “Pffft, that really isn’t so different!” and maybe it’s not. Except that I see the advice making the rounds and, almost every time, I think “I don’t do that. Should I be doing that?” Some days, it doesn’t bother me. Other days, however, yeah it bothers me.
I want to tell the best stories that I can. Hopefully, that is what I am doing while, at the same time, adding my own flare to each story. The feedback thus far has been mostly positive, so I’d like to think I’m doing something right. I enjoy writing. More than that, I enjoy writing the way I write. It feels organic and natural–as if the story itself is alive and guiding me to convey what it wants to say.
I’m always open to new ideas and methods, but they need to feel right. In the arena of writing, however, what I’m doing feels right to me, no matter what doubts I have. So I guess it’s business as usual. The doubts most likely aren’t going away, so I’ll learn to cope.