Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Writing Process

Today as I was scrolling through all of the fabulous blogs that I follow, I came across Write it Sideways by Suzannah Windsor Freeman.  She discusses how to embrace the writing process as a whole.  It is an EXCELLENT post, and I encourage you all to read it by clicking on her name up above.

Thank you Suzannah for inspiring me to take a closer look at my own writing process.  In order for me to examine what it is that I truly do, I have made a list below.  I love to make lists!  So here we go...

1.  I make a lists of all of the story ideas that are randomly floating around in my head.  This could include titles, character names, and funny one-liners.  You name it, I have written it down on sticky notes, my  hand, or even the back of a grocery list. . . somewhere.

2.  I write it out long hand.  I always write my first draft long hand with a blue ball point pen.  I cross out, scribble, and rewrite in teeny-tiny writing all over that page.  I squeeze thoughts into the margins.  I make arrows.  I carry that pad of paper with me wherever I go, and by the time I am done with that first draft that paper looks as if it has gone through my 3 year old nephew's grubby hands.

3.  I decipher what I have written and I type it into my computer, editing along the way.  For me, editing is not a one shot deal.  It is a constant component of my writing process, and I do it from before I actually write things down on that first sticky note.

4.  Print it out and write all over it in many different colors.  I really edit!  Recently I have been sitting down with Writing PIcture Books, by Ann Whitford Paul and using it as a guide (BE SURE TO CHECK  THIS BLOG ON MONDAY AS ANN WHITFORD PAUL WILL BE GUEST POSTING).  I have re-read this book so many times, you would think that I would have it memorized by now, but I don't--I discover something new each time.  I sit with my manuscript, and I go through the book chapter by chapter doing each of her assignments.  This part of my writing process has truly helped me to tighten my story and to bring out the best in each of my characters.

5.  I send to my critique group.  This is always hard for me.  I sit waiting for their emails to return saying, "Sandi, send this out!  It is ready!  Can I have an autographed copy?"  This hasn't happened. . . yet, but maybe someday.  When I receive their critiques I quickly read them over, and then I let their thoughts mill around in my brain for a while.

6.  I print and write all over it again. I carefully examine the comments that my critique group has offered and I pick through what I agree with and what I don't.  I HAVE TO ALWAYS REMIND MYSELF THAT THEIR CRITIQUES ARE MERELY THEIR OPINIONS AND I AM THE AUTHOR.  I GET TO DECIDE WHAT ULTIMATELY WORKS FOR THE STORY (AND FOR ME) AND WHAT DOESN'T.  After making the suggested changes I will frequently send it out to them again.

7.  Now here is where I get impatient-- I now believe that I have written the best story ever told and I start to research potential agents and publishing houses to represent me on my WORLD BOOK TOUR.  I begin to think about going shopping for what to wear when the Queen of England invites me over to the palace to sign her personal copy while we sip tea.

8.  I come back to earth and wait for their return comments. I also begin to share my story with children.  I like to see what they think.  My 12 year old always has insightful comments like "Mom, no one uses the word GROOVY anymore.  Stop sounding so old!"  Or, "you know Mom, that word might be too difficult for a 4 year old to understand."

9.  I now repeat step 4 and then bite off all of my fingernails.

10.  When I finally feel like I am tweaking just for the sake of tweaking I move on to my disorganized submission process... but I will save that for another post.


  1. Your post along with several others prompted me two write a similar post on my own writing process! Let evaluation begin! We all have our own way to tackle things. So let's shout it to the rooftops! Why not eh? Thanks for sharing your process!

  2. I am glad that I inspired you to think about your own writing process! Enjoy this self exploration.

  3. Haha! So what would you wear to an interview with the Queen of England? I don't have the foggiest idea. I really should know the answer to this questions because we writers never know when we might get the invite. :)