There Is a Method to My Madness


My life method, when I want to learn a new skill, is to find books to teach me. It’s how I learned to cook, joyfully. It’s how I learned to knit, sew and quilt.

Up to now I have been mostly a ‘pantser’ in my writing method, which means that I do waste a lot of time. I have finished my first novel and the second has been simmering in the background. Now I feel it beginning to come to a boil. But I don’t want this novel to take as long to write as the first one. So it’s back to my life method.

I bought a book, a good one, on how to outline. It’s on my e-reader. I put off starting it while I read two excellent YA novels. (Read widely. Learn from other writers. Good to do. But still, it is procrastinating a bit.)

Today I sat down and began to read it. Here’s the irony. There is something about focusing on the craft that makes my imagination start to work overtime. So when I read books on the craft of writing, suddenly my characters, or new ones I haven’t imagined yet, started to hold conversations in my head.

That’s exactly what happened as I began to read my new book on outlining. Well, what is a writer to do? I put down the e-reader and head to the keyboard. I have to get this stuff down before it flies away again. No idea how, where, when I will work it in, but dang, this is an interesting conversation!

So while I approach mastering the skill of writing with an outline, I will also keep on dumping snippets of dialogue, ideas, even images, into a document I simply call Notes on “Working Title.”

What is your writing method? Share what you like in the comments, please!


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