Friday, August 23, 2013

Why I Don't Talk About My Writing Process

In case you don't follow Dean Wesley Smith or Joe Konrath (and frankly, if you're indie publishing or want to indie publish, you should be), both of them are talking about their writing process.

In Dean's case, he's been doing a writing in public series for August. He's a true panster, and for a hybrid like me, it's interesting watching him go through his day.

Yesterday, Joe came clean on four humor books he published under a pseudonym. In his case, he was trying to find the fun in writing again by doing doing something crazy and off-the-wall. He claims he blew his own rules of indie publishing out of the water, but is still making money on these books. (Personally, I don't think he did break his rules, but that's a post for another day.)

So, two different experiments, two experienced writers. But it's the comments that are most educational.

Basically, writers are afraid to let their freak flag fly. "Oh, my god, what would people think of me?" "I'll ruin my career!" "You can't write that fast! The book won't be any good!"


I give both Dean and Joe a lot of credit for growing a damn thick skin over the years. They don't let the stupid comments from people get to them. And I really do admire them for that.

I, on the other hand, am so fucking sick of confrontation. After the kerfluffle when I announced I was going indie, I've been actively avoiding most writers.

In the year since I quit the day job and started writing full-time, I've been working pretty damn hard to improve my craft. Writing faster. Trying new forms such as short stories. Experimenting with styles and techniques. And I'm getting the same comments from writers as Dean and Joe. "Oh, my god, what would people think of you?" "You'll ruin your career!" "You can't write that fast! The book won't be any good!"

Which means I'm down to a handful of people I can talk writing with. And it isn't anything I've actually done "wrong." It all comes down to the other people's fear.

So if you ask me for advice, you might only get a platitude from me until I get to know you better. Nothing personal, but I don't want your fear.

Now, if you can let go of the fear-monster and want to try something new, Joe's running a challenge at his blog. Write a short story, edit it, format it, create a cover, and upload it to Amazon within eight hours. Once it goes live, e-mail Joe the link and he'll mention you on his blog. I did it in seven hours and thirty-four minutes, but I got side-tracked looking at cute bulldog pictures. A lot of people did it much faster.

Try it. I dare you. In fact, I double-bulldog dare you.


  1. On the other hand, seeing where those particular kinds of comments come from can be a great idiot filter. [cough]

    I know I'm tempting fate by putting my wordcount meter on my blog, but I'm figuring most people probably won't notice it anyway. :P And if anyone insists that I must be writing crap because I'm writing that fast, well, see above about the idiot filter.


  2. "On the other hand, seeing where those particular kinds of comments come from can be a great idiot filter."

    Well, Angie, considering you're one of the five writers I still talk to on a regular basis... LOL

    We have very different processes, but we respect that instead of screaming "You're doing it wrong!" at each other.