Thursday, October 4, 2012

9 Questions To Ask When Deciding How to Write

"Do I Just Sit and Start Writing Or Kind Of Lay Out The Book First?"

This is a question I was just asked by a fellow minister on the field, Chantz Cutts, after reading my book, H.O.P.E. From Here to Haiti.

My answer is: It depends.

I have a decent process for my non-fiction stuff that I am very pleased with. It is structured to produce a clean final product AND functions well to deal with my bursts of muse-driven inspiration.

On my non-fiction stuff, I have a brainstorm/download process and about a thousand conversations with my master-mind team. Along the way, I do a mind map, look for an order, and begin downloading ideas on the mind-map. I eventually transfer the brainstorms (stickie notes, drawings, emails, napkins, etc.) into an outline of sorts. I see what makes sense on an order and then go back over the material.

On my first fiction novel still in process, 'Aegis, Shopper', I attempted to simply sit and flow. It has been an experiment in going with the flow to write. This works very well if you are a general story teller. BUT, I would say that I am starting to believe that I am only comfortable with this process at this point because I have the confidence in my system to finish and organize and edit it later. AND, I am pretty good about saying to myself "I will just sit down and knock out 1,000." (I write a minimum of a thousand words a day, even if it is dribble that I will eventually throw away.)

On my second fiction novel, currently unnamed, I approached it a tad more systematically. I could go into this as I had to devise a proprietary way to do it, and there is a lot to explain to it.

How Would You Recommend A New Author Approach Their Writing?

I would say it depends on several things. What type of book it is, how intense is the muse (aka The Holy Creative Spirit) in you (this affects pace, degree of discipline needed, and systematic approach), knowing your creative process; these are all things to consider.

Your process could vary from my. Start by answering these questions:

  1. What is the premise of the book?
  2. What sort of book is it?
  3. Can any of it be crowd-sourced?
  4. How intense is the idea in you? (1 - 10, 1 being I woke up with a good idea but by the time I finished coffee it was 'myeh' and 10 being It lines up with my current work, accelerates our vision, and I would sell my left leg to finish it)
  5. Do you prefer deadlines? Or just to go with the flow?
  6. How structured is your schedule already?
  7. Are there any deadlines that the launch of the book would go well with?
  8. How much do you know about The One-and-Only Story told?
  9. Has anything even similar been written before?

I would say that as I answer these questions for myself I begin to see the process required to accomplish it.

What is your process? 
Do you have a specific project you are working on that you need process questions answered for?
Let me know below!

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