I consider myself a perfectionist—this is not a good thing. Things may be collapsing in chaos around me, but, darn it, I’m going to make whatever it is that I’m working on the absolute best it can be. For example, in preparing for this blog post on the writing process—and knowing what I consider my writing process—I spent several hours researching others’ definition, not to mention all the different ways every other writer in the world approaches her/his craft. (Full disclaimer: I gave up after two.)
Needless to say, that was not helpful.
As I read page after page of others’ processes, however, not to mention that there are actual (mostly) agreed upon stages—and became suitably overwhelmed—I finally did what I’ve done throughout my writing career: I shut it all down. Because writing is the first—and only—thing I’ve done during my whole entire life that I didn’t exhaustively prepare.
Does that mean I don’t follow those well-established steps, however? No. So here goes.
This is an easy one, and it often starts with Pinterest. Or, to be precise, with alllll of the pictures of pretty men on Pinterest. If I’m stuck I just spend some time looking around—what? it’s research!—until I have a sufficient number of pictures in my head for my imagination to run as wild as is called for.
I start with SoManyAmazingWordsFlowingThroughMyHeadThatICan’tPossiblyWriteThemAllDownQuicklyEnough, I sit down at the computer, raise my hands to type and…
But then there was…
So I get up from my desk, start moving around, get involved in something else (often that requires driving somewhere—I do have three kids, after all), and immediately all the words are back. I may be the only person in the world who is desperate to hit every light on Comm. Ave. so that I can just get a sentence at a time down on paper or dictate into my phone.
3) Revision (Add/Rearrange/Remove/Replace)
My revisions start immediately as I transfer my scribbles, transcribe my voice memos, or move the email I sent myself into my manuscript. I often find, incidentally, that this first stage involves a lot of well, I believe the technical term is “crap.” But without it, I can’t move on to the next stage, which is…
Ah…… Editing. I LOVE to edit. I love it when I’ve finally gotten everything down—when I know how my characters got from It was a dark and stormy night to THE END—and I can get in there and, as a former professor used to say, make it smoke.
When I can get the words into their rhythm and rhyme, get the chapters flowing from one to the next. (Incidentally, red and blue pens are an absolute must, preferably when wielded by others because, yes, I want my pre-readers to mark up my ms. I live for it.)
Rinse and repeat a few times until the point at which the red ink only appears once every fifty pages or so. Send off to official editor—rinse and repeat again as directed. Because then we’re at…
Aka, the point of no return. With CALLING IT being my first book, it’s also the first manuscript that I’m putting out into the world without being able to pull it back. It is an equally awesome and terrifying experience. And I am so incredibly excited that I get to do it again.
Thank you to Bobbi Lerman for inviting me to appear on this blog. I am so happy to be here!
Jen Doyle has an M.S. in Library and Information Science and, in addition to her work as a librarian, has worked as a conference and events planner as well as a Communications and Enrollment administrator in both preschool and higher education environments (although some might say that there is very little difference between the two; Jen has no comment regarding whether she is one of the “some”). You can find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jendoyleink), Twitter (@jendoyleink), and Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/jendoyleink/), as well as on her website at: www.jendoyleink.com
About CALLING IT
After a near career-ending car accident and with the paparazzi surrounding his penthouse, all-star catcher Nate Hawkins can only thing of one place to go: home. But when he finds his old apartment occupied by a half-naked woman wielding a baseball bat, he's not sure what to think... except that maybe his luck has finally changed for the better.
Librarian Dorie Donelli never thought she’d get to meet her fantasy man in person—much less while she’s wearing her bathrobe. To her surprise, her nearly naked run-in with Nate leads to more unclothed encounters. But Dorie is sure their fling is only temporary. As long as she remembers he’ll be gone once his life gets back on track, she won’t get hurt. In the meantime, she throws herself into enjoying their three weeks together before he has to report for spring training and go back to his old life.
For the second night in a row, Dorie didn’t sleep; and for the second morning in a row, she found herself sitting in her office, staring out at the street. Unlike the night before, she’d gotten past the part about whether it had all been real. Obviously it was. The problem now was that she had no idea what to do about it. She’d spent a whole lifetime building the fantasy of him up into the ideal man—what on earth was she supposed to do with the true-to-life one?
And now even her potential-one-night stand idea had become complicated. She was almost afraid to admit how much she liked him—definitely more than most of the guys she’d slept with, and that was even without the Nate Hawkins factor. In fact, she’d almost blurted out that she did know exactly who he was so that they could just get on with it.
Yes, she was resolved to do that very thing, especially since they could then acknowledge his pre-Courtney reputation for one-and-done hookups, actually do the hooking up, and then both move on. He was clearly here to lick his wounds before heading back to Chicago where he’d either go back to his old ways or be on the search for his next Courtney, so it should work out fine.
But even if he never spoke to her again, she’d deal. That she’d had the chance to hang out with him at all was a dream come true. And if against all odds he did speak to her after she’d come clean, well, she didn’t plan on doing much speaking. In fact, she would happily provide any necessary licking services whenever and wherever required.