What works for me

on April 30, 2016 in Uncategorized

A new friend recently asked me for support as she wrote her memoir.  I happily agreed.  Writing my own memoir proved to be very healing and hearing from others who were helped by my story empowered me.

There is a lot of conflicting information out there.  Write for the reader.  Write for yourself.  Have an outline.  Don’t outline.  Edit as you go.  Get the words out and edit after you finish the first draft.  Let others read your words as you write them.  Keep your writing private until your manuscript is as perfect as you can get it.

What works for one author probably won’t work for every author.

Personally, I believe we should write for ourselves and edit for the reader.  The most difficult part in my writing life is staying at my keyboard.  I’m easily distracted and echoes of self-doubt try to push me away from my own writing.  It’s easier to edit for others than to write for myself.  But the use of a simple kitchen timer works for me.  For one hour every morning, I write for me.  No distractions allowed.  I can’t argue with the timer.  It doesn’t hurry up, no matter how much I beg.  When the timer goes off, I can decide to keep going or stop and work on something else.  An alarm will tell me when I have to absolutely get up from the chair and get ready for my day job.

I always make an outline.  I use post-it notes on a poster board so I can rearrange and add/delete as I work.  It keeps me focused and orderly, and the artist in me loves using multiple colors of post-its and pens.

I try not to edit as I go.  Getting the words out is my most important task.  If I can’t think of the right word, I type a ____ and keep on going.  I also keep a second document open for notes and thoughts about what I’m writing.  Then if the dreaded writer’s block rears its ugly head, I have a list of things to get me going again.

Belonging to a critique group is the best thing I ever did for my writing.  It’s all about accountability.  Knowing three other writers will be reading 10 – 12 pages of my words each month keeps me working.  Critiquing their pages broadens my world.  Talking about our critiques and hearing what they felt while reading my pages helps focus my rewrites.

If you are writing, and I hope that you are, do what feels right to you.  As I told my new friend, the only wrong way to write is not to do it.

Hugs and Happy Writing.


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