It’s difficult not to compare oneself with another, particularly someone more successful than you. (And there will always be someone more successful. Veronica Roth isn’t as famous as J.K. Rowling, and Rowling isn’t as prestigious as Dickens). So writers tend to examine the habits of others and compare, generally with a critical eye, asking questions such as: Should I be a plotter or a panser? How many words should I be writing today?
Yet, just like every other profession, what works for person A will not work for person B. (Akin to raising children – better get a big bag of tricks because what works for your first kid will undoubtably fail with the next). I could have writing blitzes. I could plot all my novels to the nth degree. I could set a word count goal for each day. But something tells me, it wouldn’t work out. I might sit and stare at my computer for four straight hours. I might be confined to a plot structure that isn’t working. Or I could write ten thousand words of pure crap.
Better go with my own style.
I write in very short bursts. Usually twenty to thirty minutes. If I’m lucky, and a nice flow has hit, I might last forty-five minutes, but that is rare. If it’s a weekend I might write several times a day, with hours in between, used to daydream and imagine where the story might go. During the week, I try and write every other night, but honestly, life gets hectic so it doesn’t always happen. Yet, I’ve managed to write four novels in the last five years, because words on a page add up, and when I write in short bursts the quality tends to be better. So I don’t compare myself to those who manage to compose for hours at a time, uninterrupted and with no breaks. (Doesn’t sitting for that long hurt their backs? Who knows.) My style is my style and it works.
Besides, Jack Kerouac wrote by candlelight, Dan Brown uses inversion therapy, Virginia Woolf wrote standing up, and Victor Hugo had his valet hide his clothes until he finished a goal… so my need to wear a tiara when I edit is nothing to scoff at, and neither should any of your writing quirks.
Guest post written by Jenna Greene