The Writing Process: A Personal Experience

Posted by on Jan 12, 2015 in Blog | 1 comment

The Writing Process: A Personal Experience

Today’s guest blog comes from award-winning author Duke Southard. After retiring as a public school educator, Duke directed his energies to writing and has published three novels, one memoir, and a commissioned nonfiction history. He currently is working on a true crime novel and a memoir about growing up with a “Greatest Generation” father. His novel, Live Free or Die, the second in the Parker Havenot series, will be released this

Sixteen years ago, I ended a thirty-five year career in public education
and redirected my energies to a career as a writer. Initially, my writing
process was filled with rookie mistakes that I’m no longer making. I now
make new and much more interesting veteran mistakes.

Here are a few things I no longer do because they interfered significantly
with my writing process.

1. I never go back to the previous day’s keeper-pages. Nothing stops the
progress on a writing project faster, in my opinion, then revising and
editing what I thought was good enough to keep yesterday.

2. I don’t interrupt my writing to look at e-mails or surf the internet
unless I need to check something for the content of what I am writing.

3. I try, with varying degrees of success, to not allow everyday things to
get in the way of my writing time.

Here are a few things I do now that help my writing process.

1. I set a goal for the day. (e.g.minutes, hours, chapters, pages—something
realistic like three keeper-pages a day)

2. I write “end notes” (a Stephen King idea) when I’m finished so that
tomorrow I know exactly where I’m going without looking back at
yesterday’s work.

3. I ignore those irritating little red and green lines when I look up at
the screen, telling me I misspelled something or have a grievous
grammatical error. (will fix them later)

4. I allow for thinking time, staring ahead as I imagine how an upcoming
scene to going to play out or how my dialogue is going to sound.

5. I do not stop thinking about the story or my characters when I stop
writing for the day. The plot and characters are part of my life and are
waiting helplessly for me to move things along.

If you’ve incorporated other ideas into your writing process, send them on over.
Writing is a personal experience, but fortunately, we can all learn from each other.
Duke Southard
 12-2Southard-Live Free or Die-cov

One Comment

  1. So … I am successfully and consistently accomplishing ALL of the “don’ts” and only ONE of the “do’s” (#4 — I take plenty of time for thinking, although not very often about my writing). Thanks for gently nudging me in a more productive direction.

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