The Insecure Writer’s Support Group ~ No#2

So it's that time again, the monthly post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.


The truth of the matter is – I feel totally uninspired! It's like my creative brain is non-existent… probably the result of an extended blogging break. (Although I did manage to post yesterday…)

So here I am . BICHOK = Butt In Chair Hands On Keyboard (which is the first and most valuable piece of writing advice I've ever received). I had to literally drag myself to the computer, plonk my butt in the chair and begin writing this post. Last week I suffered a bout of flu/sinus, which I'm still trying to get rid of. I'm trying to shake off the heavy-headed feeling – you know the upper respiratory congestion that persists, complete with nagging cough caused by post-nasal drip…

I've been wondering about the writing process. Which is the better approach? To sit down and write the story, from beginning to end – no stopping to check anything or edit. Just write. Write. Write. Write. From your heart. From your mind. From that innermost part of your soul. Get your story down on paper. When you are done, then worry about editing etc.  

OR   Empower yourself first! Get your hands on "How To Write…" books. Search the net. Read tons of blogs where writers offer writerly advice. And then armed with this amazing knowledge, start writing the story.

Would it also depend on the length of your piece? I'd imagine that the first approach would be suited to a lengthy novel whereas the second approach would work well in the short story genre. But I suppose that's just my perception of it…

I'm sure that the seasoned writers would be able to offer more advice on this topic…


  1. Miranda Hardy on January 4, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    You’ve taken the first step and that’s the butt in the chair. I’d say you need to do what feels more comfortable for you. I wrote my first novel before I learned a lot through research and reading about the craft and you know what… The first book is crap, but the story is great.

    I’ll eventually go back and revise, but it’s important to know that even while I wrote I learned. With each piece I write, I improve, and so will you.

    • mish on January 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      Whichever way you look at it, I suppose it's a step-by-step process, which requires lots of dedication and patience,too…

  2. Bryce Daniels on January 4, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Congrats on reaching BICHOK!! So true, the most important ingredient that us writers struggle with, at times, the most.
    Most of what I have read says to write the story beginning to end. That's not how I work, which I guess makes me a rebel. I will write a few chapters, then go back and edit (WAY to much, I confess) until I feel they shine. I'll often be working for naught, because down the road my work doesn't sync properly. (Which I suppose might lend credence to the 'complete first' idea.)
    In my opinion, though, it boils down to what works best for YOU. It is, after all, YOUR story. Just remember the reader, and that you are trying to deliver an emotional experience to your audience. THAT, to me, is THE most important ingredient of the writing process.
    Happy New Year to you and yours, and may 2012 bring you many writerly successes!

    • Bryce Daniels on January 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      Proof positive of my shortcomings. LOL. WAY too many "mosts," and *too* rather than *to.*

    • mish on January 5, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      I've discovered something about my writing process –  I'm always tempted to check my work at odd intervals…  I find it difficult to just write on and on, without checking. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing.

  3. Cindy Borgne on January 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    I use both methods as I've read tons of writing books. Outlines never seem to work for me even though I do start with one I never seem to stick to it. Just keep trying and progressing. Writing is a long, long journey for everyone. Sometimes I'm motivated to only blog, other times I only want to write fiction. Oddly, I never want to do both at the same time…lol.
    You will be fine.

    • mish on January 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement, Cindy. I will definitely continue trying and progressing. Throwing in the towel is NOT an option.

  4. Carrie Butler on January 4, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Oh, I'm a huge fan of the "Just write. Write. Write. Write." approach. It's usually my best work–maybe not the best looking, but the content is there. Know what I mean? It's so honest and gritty. I love it. 🙂 The editing can wait!
    For me, at least. Do whatever works for you. Feel better! 🙂

    • mish on January 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      I get what you're saying. The write, write, write option involves an immersion of self, an uninterrupted outpouring of ideas which comes from somewhere deep inside… 🙂 Thanks for the boost of inspiration. 🙂

  5. Patsy Collins on January 5, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Getting yourself in front of the computer is a good start. Once there write something. Reading helpful books, doing research and planning out your story are all fine ideas but they won't actually get the story written.

    • mish on January 5, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      Short and to the point. It reinforces the write, write, write, write angle… thanks Patsy.

  6. shah wharton on January 6, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    When I began my first book (I WILL publish it damn it, and this year!) I simply say and wrote. I knew nothing about doing such and thing or story plans or even if anyone would get to see it. I had a story and had to write it down. Then I began editing what I had and  – SCREAM – it all ended there. Then I blogged, read, learned from other authors. I took and break. I gathered informationa and know how. I aquired networking skills/a platform. I built a tiny morsal of confidence that with a little condifence and perseverence I coudl in fact make my shambles of a book into something palatable. Hurrah! 
    I knew I had to come at it from a different angle – the editing frensy had to end. At least until the story came to its conclusion and full first draft was down. I tried but couldn't break the editing addiction. I heard of NaNoWriMo and became a winner – writing the second in the series of books. The editing addiction broken – I knew I had to return to the first book of the series, even more now I'd written the second. So Thats where I am now. Phew! 
    I've learned a few things by both write, write, writing, and by learning, blogging, reading about writing. Mostly that I needed to do both to see what kind of writer I am and how I work. I simply didn't know before. 🙂 X
    I also have an Author Blog as well as WordsinSync now if you'd like to take a look. X

    • mish on January 16, 2012 at 7:19 pm

      Gosh, you've certainly had an exciting and fascinating writing journey thus far. Good luck with the publishing of your first book! 🙂 … love the phrase: "shambles of a book into something palatable…" *giggles*

  7. tara tyler on January 6, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    if you’ve got the story in you all ready to come out, WRITE IT!

    editing is the hard part and then you use the books to make your great story Awesome!

    • mish on January 16, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      Great advice TTT – short & sweet & to the point. Thank you!

  8. Alex J. Cavanaugh on January 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    What works is what fits YOUR style best. I outline and plan and then write the story from start to finish before going back to edit.

    • mish on January 16, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      … and that's what I'm still working on  – finding out what exactly is my style. I love structure and being organised so I'm definitely a plotter… that's for sure… thanks Alex.

  9. Ciara Knight on January 6, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    What ever works best for you  is the right answer. Even then, you'll change things as you go. You'll get your rhythm and rock it.

    • mish on January 16, 2012 at 7:28 pm

      … so the trick is to find my writing rhythm, keep an open mind and take it from there… something along those lines… Thanks for the encouragement, I really appreciate it! 🙂

  10. Sarah Pearson on January 8, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Personally, I sit down and write a first draft, really fast, no back reading. I love doing this, but it leaves a LOT of work in the editing process 🙂
    This year, I'm planning on reading some more craft books to help with the editing 🙂

    • mish on January 16, 2012 at 7:31 pm

      As I go along, I'm discovering that the process is different for each individual. It boils down to what suits each person and there are no hard and fast rules. Thanks Sarah. 🙂

  11. The Golden Eagle on January 8, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    I usually just try to power through the first draft and ignore everything else until it's finished–but every writer has their own methods. I also know mine change from novel to novel, and even within the same project; for a while I went back and edited chapters of what I had just written and <i>then</i> continued with the first draft.

    • mish on January 16, 2012 at 7:36 pm

      Writing method is a very personal thing – that's for sure! 🙂 I have discovered that the process changes from one writer to the next, and it can also change from one project to the next. Very interesting. Thanks Golden Eagle.

  12. Shannon Lawrence on January 9, 2012 at 1:17 am

    My problem is not getting my butt in the chair, but not getting distracted by the interwebs.  Something I'm working on.  I agree with the write, write, write, edit later approach, and have found that works great for me.  Good luck to you!

    • mish on January 16, 2012 at 7:38 pm

      … tell me about it! The temptation to go blog-hopping is very distracting! Thanks for popping in!

  13. Tamara Narayan on January 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog. I like to write the first draft with some light line edits, because I belong to a local writing group and we get together to critique pages every couple of weeks. I don't get into heavy editing until I have most of the story down. When the story is (mostly ) finished, I can think hard about what each section needs to do in terms of moving the story along, letting the reader know something about the character, or creating a mood. Having the complete story gives my editing direction and purpose and that's why I love editing!
    As far as research goes, I wrote my first book without doing any research (about the things in the story, not writing) and the editing process was long and difficult. Many changes had to be made to the structure of the story. My second book is historical fiction, so I read over twenty books about the time period so I would be able to create the scenery, the clothes, the food, and the language as I went.

    • mish on January 16, 2012 at 7:45 pm

      Thanks for sharing your writing process/experiences. I suppose it helps to belong to a writing group which meet on a regular basis.

  14. Arlee Bird on January 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I find that taking long walks or drives can stimulate a lot of ideas.  Time alone with no distractions forces me to go into my own mind and come up with some great writing topics.  And just sitting down to write is a good idea especially when you don't agonize over the process and just start writing without worrying about what you're writing.
    <a href="">Tossing It Out</a>

    • mish on January 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm

      Taking long walks/drives sounds like a great idea! It probably helps to dust off the cobwebs… and you're so right – just free writing with no pressure often produces good stuff.

  15. Misha on January 16, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    I wrote about this, today. 
    I actually think that regardless of the length of the piece, it's better to just start writing and get a feel for it before looking for advice and so on.
    A lot of new writers get discouraged when they go to the internet because everyone seems to put out a way of writing as the only right way, except that every way seems to be different. Which is why writers should write until they feel more secure in their knowledge first. 🙂

    • mish on January 16, 2012 at 7:56 pm

      Yes, there's tons of info about the "right way" to go about writing. And it can be quite discouraging… 🙂 I suppose the trick is to find ones own writing rhythm and develop from there… and it's a step-by-step process, after all, which includes time, patience, perseverance… Thanks Misha.

  16. nutschell on September 14, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I think it's a different process for everyone. For me, it's a little bit of both. I started out with a story idea, but when I realized I had no idea what i was doing, I set it aside and read a lot of writing books first. 🙂

    Happy Friday!




Leave a Comment