Sunday, May 22, 2011

Guest Post from Elle LaPraim on Writing Process & Rockin' the Short Story

Hi All. I’m Elle LaPraim and I publish Sci-fi and Fantasy short stories on the Kindle and the Nook.
I was honored when Natalie asked me to do a guest post on her awesome blog. When Natalie told me I could write about anything I wanted, I knew I had to write about what I was most interested in: process. I am absolutely fascinated by the nuts and bolts of peoples' process. It is something people rarely talk about with new writers. So here is my process, not that mine is the right way, but I've found it helpful to see how other people organize their time and ideas.
            So here goes... I wake up and walk down to the local coffee shop and write there for about three hours. That’s three hours of solid writing. I am there for more like four, but some of it is spent texting, checking my email and looking out the window and generally goofing off. So yeah, three solid hours is good for me. I have about a million ideas and I used to just write down all of them as they came into my head. That, unfortunately, resulted in having thirty unfinished short stories lying around. I realized I had to be more disciplined if I was ever going to finish one. Now I make myself write on the same story every morning until it is done. Later in the day, if I have an idea I just have to write down, I will pull out my “Ideas Journal” and quickly sketch it out there. I never write more than a page on the new idea because I need to stay focused on the one I am working on.
             After that I have some lunch and catch up with Glee, The Good Wife, and American Idol. Don’t judge me, I can’t help myself. Then in the afternoon I either type up a story I have just written at the coffee shop or work on editing one I need to get up online. I print out a copy of my story after every major edit and keep it in a file. That way I don’t have twenty versions of one story on my computer. Also if my computer dies, I have a back up set. If you're one of those people who likes to have a bunch of versions on your computer, then make sure you title them by the date and not “version 4” or “edit 5”. That way if you come across version 4 in nine months you won’t wonder how many versions you actually did.
            After that I break for dinner, and maybe a little TV with the hubby. Then it’s reading in bed or a big comfy chair for at least two hours. I wish I could be as good as Stephan King wants me to be. He says you should read for 4 hours a day and write for four hours a day. I am certainly not there yet but it is a good goal to work towards. I keep a running log and short review of all the books I read. That way in twenty years I can see how many I read and know which ones are worth recommending to people and which ones should be used as doorstops. When I wake up in the morning, I do the whole process again, five days a week.
            There are two reasons why my process might not work for you personally. One is that I write short stories, so I am constantly editing one project while writing another, thinking of a new project, and sending something off to my editor. You may be writing a five hundred-page novel so some of my thoughts might need to be tweaked a little for you.
The other reason is because I write eBooks, which means it is important for me to be very prolific. That’s how I make enough money to keep the lights on over my computer. I need to be an assembly line of sorts. I need to be always writing something, editing something, sending something to my editor for final look over and putting something up on line. This works for me because I am very ADD and like doing a lot of things at once.
Honestly, the most important thing I do is think about it as a job. I get up every morning and tell my husband I am going to work. So what if my work is at a coffee shop. When someone calls me, I say I can’t talk because I’m working, not that I can’t talk because I’m writing. People don’t understand that writing is working. You need to be clear with yourself and with others. You’re a writer, not only is that who you are, but it’s also your job, even if you have another job. Good luck and if you have a process that works really well for you. I would love to hear it. You can find me at the following links.
Thanks again Natalie! I look forward to following your blog.

These are the links to my facebook about writing and my amazon author page.

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