What's Your Writing Process?

(This will probably come off sounding bloggy, so I apologize in advance)
So, I am such a pantser. Just thinking about planning makes me kind of freak out, which means my story ends up being a twisted, screwed up mess. There is SO MUCH EDITING. So, so much. This means I get all these lovely feelings, like, Oh, gosh. why do I do this? This is so much trash, there isn’t even a story here! Why am I doing this??? If you’re a writer, you probably know this feeling. Actually, I’m going to bet you DO know this feeling. So, I thought I’d share what helps me and you guys can share what helps you, so we can all work together and have a little dandy party. Here we go:
As I write, I keep a composition notebook, in which I scribble down character names, stupid plot ideas, and questions to myself that end up being rhetorical, most of the time. Every so often, when I feel like quitting, I write myself a pep-talk and IT HELPS. Like, you probably wouldn’t think reading something you just read would be helpful, but boy it is.
Second, to keep myself motivated, I print out every 10,000 words, then staple it together. Then I read it, just to see what threads I’ve left untied, and what, in the next 10,000 words, I need to remember. I usually will write these things down in my notebook. Also, just reading what you have written helps me, because I’ll find something that is actually good, and I’ll be like, Wow. I can actually write. This might not be terrible.
Lastly, all of my chapters are between 500 and 900 words. Shorter chapters keep me moving, and keep a nice pace. Sometimes, when this evil thing called Internet gets in my way, I’ll open up a Google Doc (cause you can work on those–with an extension–without internet), turn the page color black, and write in black ink so I can’t see what I’m writing. This makes for very productive–and interesting–sessions.
So then, I will finish, and celebrate. And then edit.
Here’s some advice that I go by:
-All of my problems are a problem for future me, so write with abandon.
-If it sucks, at least it’s less sucky than a blank page.
Y’all: what is your writing process like, and do you have any advice for any other lovely folks out there?

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I’m definitely a plantser. When I’m scheming (usually in my head as I try to go to sleep at night or go back to sleep in the morning), I let my imagination take me where it feels like it needs to go. When it comes time to start writing, I like to have a goal.

I tend to overwrite—my first drafts always have so many unnecessary little movements and boring conversational dialogue! If I don’t have an idea of where the story is going and where my end goal is for the chapter, this overwriting becomes so much worse and I spiral out of control.

I’ve only just started writing consistently enough that I have a pattern. Here’s what my process looks like:

  • I don’t have chapter word limits. I write until the scene is over. If the chapter is too long or short, I can evaluate in the editing phase.
  • I only use Google Docs. I don’t care to pay for Word and I like having my writing on my phone and my iPad (although I don’t often use my phone). I’m hoping to get Scrivener for Christmas though because I’ve heard great things about it!
  • I jot down notes in many places except a journal. I hate handwriting things. My brain moves too fast for my hand and I end up forgetting everything. Sometimes I find myself forgetting in the time it takes to type. I have character profiles on Evernote because I like their template. I have a Book Ideas and Quotes section in my phone notes which has over 100 entries. I also have Thought Dumps in Google Docs where I throw all my ideas for each book in a bulleted list on the page so I can look at everything and evaluate what can happen and when.
  • First drafts are for me. They are long and rambly. They wouldn’t make sense to other people. They suck but there is a beauty in that, I think. I love reading my first drafts and seeing where my mind was at each point. It’s a really raw form of the art and I love that.
  • The first draft is for the plot. The second draft is for refinement. Once I have a draft with a plot I like, I tidy up some loose ends and send it to my friends to read. When I start getting into my longer works (almost done with a draft, procrastinating it currently), I plan to make an anonymous survey. These are alpha readers—they do not to line edits, they do not evaluate the story. They are simply there to tell me what works and what doesn’t.
  • I will eventually find beta readers. They will also probably not do line edits but will give me a deeper evaluation of the story.
  • The survey for alpha readers will ask questions that I hope are fun. Did you like the relationship between the main characters? Would you read more about this character’s story? What Hogwarts house would you sort X characters into? Who would you cast to play this character in a movie? These help me to realize if I described the characters well enough, if their personalities were easy to distinguish, and if the relationships feel realistic.

And then the next step is hopefully publish the book someday? Lol?

I love your rule that all problems are problems for a future you. I’m always leaving things for future-Abby to do. It is helpful to know that until you publish the story and it is ink on paper, you can always edit. (And, even then, different editions of stories do exist so…)


I’m a go with the flow kind of girl, names, characters, and the basic plot I’ll have outlines, but the details and little stuff I tend to do as I go along, and I’ll heavily alter it. That’s only if I’m fond of the idea, otherwise I get my characters down and just write as I go along. The only two books I’ve actually ever really almost finished, I have the characters and basic plot planned out. I’m pretty slow actually, might be why I never finish everything. And I NEVER write enough, my books are always short, I had one book which was like 150k words, but that was ONE. After I obsessively wrote for about December to May. Just a first draft, never finished editing or my second draft.


For me, I don’t care how long the book is, as long as I reach some goal (usually 50,000 words). I might not finish it yet, but I’ll add more with my next drafts, and such. And to reach 50,000 words, writing somewhat consistently, takes me about two months. Roughly. And the book is rough. And my theory is that the characters make your plot, so I do a lot of character planning, that usually ends up driving my story. I love seeing character dynamics in books. Like, the book can have an okay plot, but if it has super awesome, realistic characters, I’ll love the book. I always like to say Catching [name_u]Fire[/name_u] isn’t my favorite Hunger Games novel plot-wise, but the characters make it so much better. This may be why I love [name_m]Finnick[/name_m] so much–because he’s so real!