Process can be an ugly word. It’s hard enough to sit down and write anything at all, but getting organized and doing it in a methodical and efficient way to get the best out of your writing in a limited amount of writing time is akin to showing up happy for a root canal. It has to happen, but nobody likes to think about it.
I was trying to get my mind wrapped around the new book a few days ago and turned to a non-writer friend for help. She’s analytical and tried to break down my process for me since I was too befuddled to be useful for anything but folding the laundry and uh-huh-ing into the phone while she talked. Here was her assessment of my process:
I am not an outliner. I am a note-taker, an idea-jot-downer, and a stream-of-consciousness-follower. Especially at the beginning.
I generally have no idea what the story is about until I’m several complete drafts in.
I can’t get organized and outline until AFTER I know what the story is about, so that could be maybe draft #10 or even 20.
Well, I was startled. That all seemed like an incredible waste of time. But, it’s worked for me so far. The problem with my most recent novel is that I was trying to buck my own process by trying to do an outline right at the beginning. No wonder my brain was in tatters! Poor thing had no idea what to do. I could almost smell the smoke from the burning axles in my noggin. It’s ok. I fed it some peanut M&Ms. My stomach was pissed, but my brain felt better.
This morning, I came across a program called Scrivener. It’s supposed to help those like me with little snippets of ideas, pictures, etc. put it all together in a program and manipulate it at will until we have something that we can use to write our stories. And when I get to outline mode, it’s good for that too. Really? Brilliant! But of course I’m skeptical. It comes with a free 30 day trial. Hmmm. Free huh? 30 days, huh? Will I have access to the stuff that I used for the 30 days, I wonder? Or will that disappear with the free trial on day 31? And if I want it back will I have to buy the program to get it?
I may give it a try, even if I must look at it askance with slitted skeptic’s eyes for a bit. But It’ll be a while before I do. I’m giving myself a few days before I get back into writing my own fiction again. And I still have loads of freelance (poetry this week) and the Sharon Creech biography to research. In the meantime…
Have you tried Scrivener? Let me know what you think about it.