Everyone has a different process. Some of can whip out a draft quickly, and then slow down and fine tune it over weeks and months, figuring out where it needs a little extra polish. Others prefer to make lots of notes beforehand, taking time to figure out the order of events or who is motivated by what long before they begin with ‘Once upon a time.’
Regardless of your particular approach, it’s helpful to recognize that your particular writing process doesn’t have to be set in stone. Not every story you write will work for your usual process. You wouldn’t write a historical fiction without at least understanding some of the more important dates and facts about the time period you’re writing about. Similarly however, you have free reign in a fantasy, and aren’t required to know every detail about its government system if you’re writing a fantasy romance between the village baker and the magician who’s lost their memory.
If you’re at the beginning of the process but feeling unmotivated or having trouble getting it started, ask yourself:
- Do I feel prepared to start on this story?
- Do I feel inspired to start on this story?
If you’re answering no to either one of those, you might need to address any concerns still hanging over you for getting going. If there’s a detail you’re getting hung up on, you can either do some quick research, or you can put in a place holder answer.
Similarly, if you’ve completed a draft and need to edit, it might be a good time to ask yourself the same questions again:
- Do I feel prepared to work on this story?
- Do I feel inspired to work on this story?
The only difference between these and the questions above is that you’re no longer starting on the story. If you’re not prepared, you may still be feeling exhausted from the monumental task of completing the first task. Take a slightly longer break! Enjoy just a little more celebratory food. If you’re not inspired, go back to what got you excited about it in the first place.