Sometimes, the solutions to our problems come in the form of things not directly related to the actual problems. For example, you might be scoring less in a test not because you didn’t study, but because at the time of the test, there was noisy construction work going on near your exam hall. Your pet might be eating less because she’s depressed and feeling lonely and not because she has a stomach bug. The most random things cause us to stumble and usually their solutions are just as random. In our previous articles we’ve discussed about issues writers face, whether it was about their speed or being stuck in the middle of their story. Most of these issues and solutions deal with the actual writing and the process of it. At times however, there are simple things that affect our writing without us noticing. Some of them have to with our habits and preferences while others are probably things we never thought were important. Each person is unique and hence they’ll have a combination of habits that is exclusive to them. The same rules may not apply to everyone which is why even though it is difficult to figure out your habits and preferences, it is still very important. It enables you to be able to discover what works for you. Now, how do we do this? We use a set of simple questions.
What are you writing? Is it a novel, a short story, a poem? Is it a stand-alone or a series? And one of the most important questions; what genre does it fall under? Being aware of what genre you want to write under is absolutely necessary. Liking a particular genre as a reader does not mean you’d write it well. In fact, you may be horrible at it and surprisingly, may excel at one you thought you’d never be interested in. You may discover that you write well in different genres or even a combination of them. It is important to experiment in order to figure out your own skills. Once you’ve realised what exactly it is you’d like to write, it becomes easy to start.
Now this question has a lot to do with your personal habits and preference. When do you like to write? Mornings? Evenings? Are you the kind of writer who pulls all-nighters? Of course, your answers do not need need to be limited to just one of the above questions. You could agree with all of them. Some writers are not early risers, hence mornings are not an option. Some writers love a long, good night’s sleep and hence wouldn’t want to pull an all-nighter. Some writers don’t wait for a particular time, but keep writing till they feel tired. It is also important to take breaks. Therefore ask yourself when you prefer to take breaks or how frequent your breaks should be. While some may prefer to follow a schedule, others would prefer to be led by their moods. Remember, there is no “right” time. It depends on you, the writer. That being said, if you know you have trouble keeping deadlines or have the habit of procrastinating to the point of not doing any work at all, then it is wise to consider making a schedule for yourself. Test yourself, make rules and figure out if those rules and self-made timetable work for you.
Where do you like to write? This question could stand for a number of things. Do you prefer to write things down on paper or would you rather type? The soft tap of your laptop keyboard or the harsh crack of a typewriter? All these details matter. You can choose one or all of them, as long as it works for you. Where would you like to publish your work? On what platform? Online or offline? It is important to understand that there are multiple options out there and that they work differently for different people. Where do you like to sit when you write? Outdoors or indoors? Would you like your own personal space, like a work room or do you want a common space like the living room? A lot of writers tend to switch places depending on their moods. Most have their own personal spaces that are sacred work stations. However, you don’t need to always stick by these places. You can try if writing in public spaces work for you, like a coffee shop or a park.
How do you like to write? This question is closely related to the previous one. In fact, the questions and replies can overlap. What kind of environment do you prefer when you write? Quiet? Bustling? Outright noisy? Do you like to remain in an alert, rigid, sitting position or would you prefer to sprawl on your bed and write? You could do both alternatively too. Again, this seems very close to the ‘where’ question. Do you like to take your time to write a single scene or are you the type to rush through what you have to write and then come back for a make-over?
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to write. You have to figure out what works for you. You may take years to finish one book while a fellow writer would take just a few months. It doesn’t matter. Everyone is different and has unique styles and paces.
One other thing to take note of is that not all of your projects need to follow the same path. Just like writing your next book under a genre you’ve never written in before is possible, so is the possibility that your entire method of writing may change. You may prefer to write in a different place or in an entirely opposite environment to your previous working environment.
This is a deeply personal and extremely significant question. Why are you writing? You may restructure the question to; Who do you write for? Do you write for yourself? Do you write for your readers? Maybe you write for no one in particular. Let no one tell you that it’s wrong to write to please someone. If it makes you happy to write for someone, then do it. Some authors write not caring whether they please anyone but because they have this story inside them that they just have to pen down. Why do you write? Do you have a story bubbling inside of you just waiting to flow out? Is it to tell someone’s story, or maybe your own experience? Is it to comfort someone? Is it to heal yourself?
Find your cause. It’s not easy, but it’s worth all the trouble.
About the Author
Christy is a student, part-time writer, and a full-time Wannabe. She devours books and binges shows.