The Writer’s Process

Hello Fellow Readers & Writers–

This post is for my fellow writers, but, in the long run, will please my fellow readers as well, because you are who we’re writing these books/stories/poems for.

I’ve written seven novels/novellas, but I still find myself “studying” writing.  Why?  I tell myself that I want to be the best writer I can be.  That’s my Monkey Mind speaking–my logical left brain.  What I need to do is trust my Wild Mind–my child-like right brain, and just write the way I know I can.  Every time I finish a book, my Monkey Mind says, “Well, okay.  That was nice, but don’t you think you can do better?  Don’t you think you should learn to “plot” better?  Don’t you think you should do better in your descriptions?  Don’t you think . . . ” the dialogue goes on and on.  I need to tell my Monkey Mind to go climb a tree or eat a banana, or something, and just let me write.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with learning and reading books about how to write.  I’m just saying don’t let that stand in the way of your natural writing process–whatever that may be. 

I’m surprised how many famous writers don’t plot out their whole books in advance.  I know I don’t, but it surprises me that others don’t either.  Even Agatha Christie said that you never know what will happen between planning the first chapter and the mutterings you have going on in your mind when you start to write it.  Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, and others, didn’t plot either.  I have a rough idea of how the story should go–who my victim(s) will be, and who’d want to kill them and why, but I usually don’t know who did the deed until I start to write the book.  In Mountain Marituscide, I “thought” I knew who the killer was.  Then my protagonist, Stevie Coral, asked me to find someone else to do the deed, because she liked the original villain so much that she didn’t want her to be the killer.  “Okay, Stevie.  You’re the boss,” I said, then went frantically through the book, looking for someone else with motive, opportunity and means.  It was a scramble, but I think the book is better for it. (I know this sounds strange to non-writers–that we hear from our characters–but it happens, as long as you really know your character well, and are immersed in the writing.)

So, what am I getting at in this long-winded blog?  Trust your intuition and your natural process of writing.  No, I’m not talking to people who have just started writing.  You’ll need to develop that writer’s intuition as you progress.  I’m speaking to those of you who’ve written before, but are now being halted by your Monkey Minds into thinking you can’t write another book/story/poem.  Just do what you’ve always “felt” you should do–and how you’ve always felt you should do it.  That’s the true “Writer’s Process,” and it’s different for each of us.

Happy Reading and Writing to you all,



1 comment to The Writer’s Process

  • Marie

    Thank you, Jill-Ayn. As I read this I realized I that this applies to many things in life. Change the word “writing” to another verb, like LIVING. “I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with learning and reading about how to LIVE. I’m just saying don’t let that interfere with your natural LIVING process—whatever that may be.”

    My bookshelves look like the Self-Help section at Barnes and Noble. They have been a protective paper fortress I’ve built up around myself during a difficult transition time. Now I’ve started The Purge. Each day I pick up a few books, browse through them, take notes of anything particularly profound. Then with a “thank you for sharing” I put them in the donate bag.

    It’s time for ME to stop hiding behind the words and lives of others.

    “Just do what you’ve always felt you should do–and how you’ve always felt you should do it. That’s the true “LIVING Process” and it’s different for each of us.”

    Think I’ll go buy some bananas to throw at my Monkey Mind and get on my way. Happy living. :)M

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