Friday, 3 August 2018
The Writing Process: Some Advice and How to Unwind
My writing process is fairly straight-forward, combining practical common sense with a bit of unbridled creative passion! First of all, I glean all the information on my next topic (eg Rhuna in Ancient Egypt) from my stash of historical, New Age, spiritual, pseudoscientific books and take notes of the points I like. From about 50 such points, however, I might only end up using half or less, but that’s fine. In the beginning, I don’t have a clear idea of what I’m going to use, but if I have a nice long list of ideas/topics/facts/myths to choose from, then it’s easier to grab one as I’m going along.
Before I start writing, I formulate a general plot in my head. Since this a series, I have a definite starting point (the cliff-hanger from the last book) and end point (the cliff-hanger leading to the next book). I have some definite ideas what will happen between both points; not just in terms of events but how characters will be affected.
Once I have a fairly solid base line to follow, I allow myself to develop and add things as I go along, and this often happens almost by itself from Part II onwards. Often I have Part One clearly defined in my mind before I get started, and this helps me lay the groundwork for the rest of the book, such as setting the scene, raising the new issues or problems Rhuna will be facing, and creating some suspense as to what will happen.
Some advice I’d gladly pass on to new and aspiring authors are these:
· Be yourself. Don’t try to write in the style of a popular author, or even your favourite author. You have to find your own inner voice and then let it shine forth.
· Every word you write should come from your heart and soul – not your brain dictating how you think it should read. If you do this, readers will instinctively feel it and have an emotional response to your book.
· Remember that books are like people: with some you immediately ‘click’; with others you just can’t gel. This goes for the books you read yourself, but also what to remember when readers don’t like your book. Not everyone is going to like it, just as not everyone is going to like you personally. That’s just the way it is.
· If you are being yourself in your creation, then continue to be true to yourself. Keep writing and growing while doing the necessary promotion and marketing of your books, and your readership will grow: slowly but surely.
Being creative can be more mentally exhausting that you realize, so it’s important to make yourself have a break before you feel the brain fog or mental block developing. In my case, I have another creative outlet, namely art: sketching, oil painting, acrylic, watercolour, still life, portraits or whatever grabs my fancy. I meet with other artists at the local Art Society’s studio once a week, and this is already a great little break when I’ve been writing or thinking a lot about a book. Other times, I feel I need a week or two away from writing and just do paintings and sketches around home.
When I’m out of creative gusto, I play games: jigsaw puzzles (on the computer nowadays – much easier!) some hidden object mystery games and Super City on Facebook. Other times just going to the park with hubby and the dog is enough unwinding for a few hours. And believe it or not, doing some necessary chores and housework can also help to unwind mentally just by giving you some distance from the work you were focussed on.