Monday 4 March 2024

Learning How You Work - The Creative Process


Something I learned very early in my career was how I worked when it came to drafting. Of course, it took me a while to work out the same for revisions and editing, but that's a story for another day. Drafting was where my career started and it still remains my favourite part of the process. But learning how I worked was a big step in making sure that I set myself up for success, and it might be something that helps you too, whether that's with all of the stages of writing, or just starting with one.

The big thing for me was, I'd already written a 'book', if you can call 36 A4 pages a book. It was always going to be short, but it contained plot lines that I thought were super cool and realistic at thirteen and reading back over it as a nineteen year old, that changed my perception a whole lot! I didn't think it would ever go anywhere, and it couldn't in the state it was in, but I could sit down and write a better one, even if I didn't really know how plotting or planning or any of that worked.

So I knew enough to know that I had to have some idea of those headlights to aim for. I decided each chapter would be at least ten A4 pages hand written and it would have ten chapters. This all changed in the editing phase, but nineteen year old Joey was sure she was onto a winner here. I wrote out a little line for each chapter, just the bare basics of what needed to happen, the main plot at least, and then over ten days I wrote out every chapter, ending up with a complete story.

I tell you that not to show off or brag, but because that was part of me working out how I worked when it came to drafting. I have stuck with, albeit a few alterations, that same way of planning my books ever since. While I don't hand write my chapters any more, and I do not make them ten pages long, I do stick to the same basic chapter plan and it's allowed me to draft almost fifty books to completion.

My point is, that while your process can and will change, learning how you personally work can be a big game changer when it comes to finishing your projects. It allows you to set yourself up for success. Like if you know you're a morning person and think that writing first thing will help, then that's a step above someone who has no idea when writing will be best. If you know that you like to be busy into the wee hours, the same applies. Though I will be clear that that side of things, at least for me, has changed multiple times over the past twenty-odd years.

There are other aspects of this that you can focus on, but the main takeaway is simple: find what works for you, and you might end up making your life a whole lot easier. I know that none of this happens fast and I know how lucky I was to hit upon a way that worked for me so quickly, but do not lose heart if it takes you a long while. Everything you try is bringing you closer to that knowledge and that is never wasted time. As I've said before, it takes as long as it takes and that's okay.

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

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