I have just started reading Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway and in the opening chapter she provides a nugget of insight that new writers (as though I am not one) need drilled into them before they waste as much time I did trying to copy someone else’s process before realizing each writer has to create their own:
The mundane daily habits of writers are apparently fascinating. No author offers to answer questions at the end of a public reading without being asked: Do you write in the morning or at night? Do you write every day? Do you compose longhand or on a computer? Sometimes such questions show a reverent interest in the workings of genius. More often, I think, they are a plea for practical help: Is there something I can do to make this job less horrific? Is there a trick that will unlock my words?
Burroway goes on to list seven different authors with seven different writing processes.
So, here’s my advice, as one who’s taken far too long to ramp up to the actual process of writing fiction: Stop spending your time Googling to try to figure out what your favorite writers do to create their works of fiction. Instead, spend that time coming up with your own process. For every hour you spend looking to see if someone writes their drafts longhand, that’s an hour you could have been writing longhand to see if that works for you. So – again, from someone who’s spent far too long asking questions – stop trying to find others’ answers to your questions, and start making your own answers.