Writing Process Blog Meme

 Many thanks to Audrey at Oldest Daughter Redheaded Sister for nominating me to take part in this fun blogging exercise. I have been given the challenge of creating a blog post which answers the following four questions:

  • What am I working on at the moment?
  • How does my work differ from others of its genre?
  • Why do I write what I do?
  • How does my writing process work?

I also need to nominate two other bloggers to take part and they are as follows:

Sarah Clare at A Bit Behind on Books:

I can’t always keep up with what’s currently trending. And honestly? I don’t really try hard to keep up either. Books are too much fun to be rushed ^.^

I read books ‘as and when’, not ‘the second it’s released’, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try for an ARC or two.

So here are my reviews and such like, in no particular order and perhaps a little late, but always honest.

And one might mix in one’s mighty, mighty wisdom on reading, writing etc. Aren’t you lucky?

Contact me at behindonbooks@gmail.com

Follow @behindonbooks on twitter! Tweet, tweet!

Chris Musgrave at Chris Musgrave – Writer In Training:

If you haven’t already guessed, the name’s Chris Musgrave. I live in Leeds, West Yorkshire with my wife and my son, but have been known to regularly commute to a place within my head which I share with a small army of characters.

When I’m not occupied with the day job, or herding an under-five though his daily ritual, I like to write. I’ve been doing it for the last 20 years and have no intention of stopping anytime soon. In fact, I’ve just embarked on a new project: an urban fantasy series, which tends to keep me up, most nights, long past my bedtime.

If you wish to contact me, you can do so direct at:

chris@chrismusgravewriter.com

This is a fun challenge and gives me the chance to actually put some real thought into why I love writing and the things that I love to write about. I’ll do my best to answer the questions as sensibly and as intelligently as I can (well, one can hope, can’t they?)

Question One: What am I working on at the moment?

Perhaps asking what I am not working on at the moment would be an easier question to answer! The truth is that I have completed a huge project approximately six weeks ago (one which took up nearly all of my writing time) and now it is out of the way it has left me free to work on a number of different projects.

I have been working on a first draft of a novel, writing short stories and flash fiction pieces in the hopes of submitting them to publications and competitions, writing pieces for small indie ‘zines, creating articles for possible submission to publications and working on a joint project with my writing partner.

I also forgot to mention my blogging commitments and my affiliation with PubShelf whose books I review and publish both on my blog and sites such as Goodreads, Amazon etc. I think it would be fair to say that I have quite a lot going on at the moment and my only hope is that continues and that perhaps in the future I am able to generate a small revenue from my writing. Who am I kidding? I want to be the next JK Rowling dammit!!

Question Two: How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This is a difficult question to answer, mainly because I am working on a number of different projects all of which are from varying genres. I like to explore themes such as romance, suspense, action, supernatural, horror, crime etc.

My chosen genres of writing are probably as eclectic as my reading tastes. I rarely read two books of the same genre one after the other (unless they are part of a very good series) and so I chop and change with each book I read. The same is probably true of my writing; I very rarely stick to one genre from one project to the next. I guess I like to have a go at everything!

I believe that each writer brings something new to the genre they write for purely because each of us has our own style and this influences the stories we create. All of us see and interpret the world differently and it seems natural that our own unique viewpoint would influence our writing.

It is my hope that, whichever genre I am writing for, that I bring something new to the table and avoid the trap of writing with the aim of pleasing a given audience. It has been proven time and again that if a book is good enough that it will find its own audience. Trying to write the next bestseller by imitating the work of the writers who came before you is a recipe for disaster.

Question Three: Why do I write what I do?

The simple answer to this is: because I have to. My mind is a complex jumble of story ideas, character profiles, and snippets of unwritten scenes. There is something within me that compels me to sit in front of my computer each day to type them up and try to make some sort of sense out of them.

I believe that writing is a way of life and something that people are driven to do. Lets face it, writing is often bloody hard work and sitting in front of a computer screen pouring the workings of your inner soul out for everyone to see is kind of like turning up for work in your underpants. Many of us are much too shy to want to risk exposing ourselves in such a way and it is only a brave few who choose to do so through writing.

Writers are often on the periphery of life, looking in on the world from the outside and trying to make some sort of sense of it. We are afflicted with a greater sense of imagination than the everyday person and often find ourselves getting caught daydreaming. I have also found that many writers use their work as a way of understanding the world around them and working through their own issues, whatever they may be. There is something very liberating about allowing your creativity to take flight and the results are often both surprising and inspiring.

Question Four: How does my writing process work?

Most writers will tell you that they have certain routines they follow as they sit down to write and I guess the same could be said for me. I simply must have a steaming hot cup of coffee by my side before I even think about sitting down to write!

Gotta have my coffee!

Gotta have my coffee!

I am one of those writers who must have silence in order to work. I cannot write when someone is in the next room trying to talk to me or if the TV and/or radio are on. Strangely, I can sit in a coffee shop and write without becoming distracted but I think that has more to do with the fact that fresh coffee and cakes are always on hand which seem to stimulate my creative juices somewhat!

Before I begin writing, I open my word count spreadsheet and then my chosen project for that day. I may wake that morning with a clear idea of what it is that I want to work on and other days I tend to just go with the flow. I am usually happy if I can log a daily word count of somewhere in the region of 1000 words. Any more than that is a bonus and any less is considered to be a bit of a failure.

If I have reached my daily word count goal and feel that a scene or a piece has reached its natural conclusion, I will then look over things I might have written a week or more previously. I like to leave a considerable gap between writing a first draft and beginning the editing stage. I need to see the piece with a clear mind and this seems to be the best way for me to do so. I’ll often print out the first draft and then scribble all over it with different coloured pens as I pick up on all of the unnecessary uses of the word ‘that’ and all of the horrendous grammatical errors that littered my first draft….

I describe my first draft writing process as ‘vomiting on a page’. It tends to be a stream of consciousness whereby I write anything and everything that pops into my head, it is only when I go back to edit it that I pretty it all up!

2014-04-19 17.03.51

Editing first drafts….

I can edit a piece over several days until I am completely happy with it and it is only then that I will begin to think about what to do next with it. Some pieces that I’ve written will end up as posts on my blog while others will be submitted to competitions and publications. Other pieces that I’ve written will also be shelved for the meantime and kept in a folder in case something pops up in the future, I then have a ready-made piece to submit.

Tools of my trade: Pens, memo cards, post-it notes, notepads....

Tools of my trade: Pens, memo cards, post-it notes, notepads….

And that’s pretty much it! Thanks once again to Audrey for nominating me to take part in this writing prompt, it was a lot of fun and I hope my readers enjoyed learning a little more about the inner workings of the mind of Heather B. Costa!

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29 Comments

Filed under Starting out

29 responses to “Writing Process Blog Meme

  1. Great answers to the hop! 🙂

  2. Heather, you are so clear and concise with your post. I’m so glad I nominated you, but I’m also thrilled that you nominated Chris. Can’t wait to read about his process.

    I see so many great moments ahead of you. Keep writing! Thanks for agreeing to do this. You never disappoint me. I learn a ton from you, even if I need noise, sometimes, to think and write. I adore your personality and cherish our connection. Thanks for being you in this post. You are a star already!

    This was so fun to read, Heather.

    Thanks again,
    Audrey xxx

    • Hi Audrey,

      Aww, I’m so glad that you enjoyed my post, thanks so much for nominating me for the blog tour, it was a lot of fun to take part in.

      I’m so that Chris accepted his nomination and I too am looking forward to reading his post in a few weeks. I am thrilled that you believe I have a bright future ahead of me; I fully intend to keep writing!

      It makes me blush to think that a writer of your caliber would say that they’ve learned from little old me! Erm, did I appear as if I knew what I was doing when it came to being on a writing journey? I’m actually making it up as I go along….

      I adore you too, Audrey and I am so thankful that we chanced upon one another so many months ago. Friendship is indeed a beautiful thing.

      Heather xxxx
      (because I know how much you like them….)

  3. SarahClare

    Your process is much more focused than mine! Even if your fist draft is ‘vomiting on a page’ Lololol. Word-vomit is the best way to get it out thick and fast.. wait..

    Euw..

    xD

    • Word-vomiting is such a great visual, isn’t it? 🙂

      I’ve tried to think of more eloquent terms for my first draft process, but ‘vomit’ seems to be the most accurate in terms of what actually happens.

      Hey, if I ever make it as a writer, I am so going to write a ‘how-to’ book called ‘Vomiting on a Page – How to Puke Your Prose’ – kinda catchy don’t you think? 😆

      • SarahClare

        It’s the lesser of evils when it comes to bodily fluid analogies.. for sure..

        xD

        For a sequel, you could do poetry: ‘syllable snot. Sneezing from stanza to stanza’

        ..too far?

      • Nah, I like it! 😆

        You know, I could generate a long-running series from these ideas…..

  4. What a fascinating post, Heather – even a friend who discusses writing with you all the time learned a lot from what you’ve shared here with us. I love your organization skills; you often have to hit me on the head to remind me to keep up with my word count spread sheet (but I am glad that you do!).

    You chose two excellent bloggers for the blog tour – I am addicted to Chris Musgrave’s Writer in Training blog (seriously, how can this guy ‘be in training?’ He’s a phenomenal writer, and SaraClare’s book reviews are amongst my favorites. I am looking forward to what they share with us.

    Here’s to you – the next JK Rowling, friend!

    • Hi Kate,

      Thanks so much for your comments, I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed my blog meme post. I learn a lot from you too and so it seems our friendship is mutually beneficial one – of course, it doesn’t hurt that we are each other’s biggest supporters either 😆

      And yes, you MUST keep up with your word count spread sheet! Sacrifice sleeping, eating, going to the toilet etc. in order to reach your daily word count goal!

      I, too, am very much looking forward to seeing what great things Chris and SarahClare are going to come up with 🙂

  5. Thank you for sharing your process. I find it interesting that we all do things differently, yet somehow come to a similar place…The End. Congrats on finishing your big project!

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