Learning Your Writing Rhythm - Time for an Author's Holiday


One of the important things I've learned about being an author is that I am totally different than any other author out there. What do I mean by that? I mean that as I have studied my craft I have discovered that what makes me tick, and what helps me get words on a page, is totally different than anyone else.

I am unique, and guess what, so are you.

If you are an aspiring author, stop trying to squish yourself into a mold that made someone else successful, you won't fit. You have to create your own mold.

This doesn't mean that you shouldn't study the work habits of successful authors because you should, but what it does mean is that you should use the shopping cart approach to your mold creation.

The shopping cart approach is this. As you push your shopping cart through a grocery store you don't grab one of everything off the shelves and fill your cart, you only take what you need and you leave the rest. That is the type of approach you should use when figuring out what makes you tick as an author.

Do you work best with a detailed outline, or do you prefer a more organic unfolding of your story? Do you work best with a word count goal or writing until the muse calls it quits? Do you write best in the morning or at midnight? Do you work best at a keyboard or with a pen and paper?

So what's the catch? You'll only discover what works best for you by doing it. Placing pencil to paper or fingers to keyboard. Does that frighten you? Let me tell you a secret, pencils have erasers and computers have delete keys, so nothing you create has to live on as a fodder for your inner critic.

So what brought all this on? I figured out another of my rhythms today and I've chosen to call it an author's holiday. I'm working on my fifth book and I've hit a point where I'm not sure if I'm still on track. I'm an organic writer. I have a general idea of where I want my story to go, and I even have a few scene's worked out in my mind, but what ends up on paper flows from my brain to the keyboard with very little in between. I average about four days a week of writing with a word goal of 1,000 words per day. So by the time I hit about 50,000 words I've been working on a story for almost four months. That seems to be when my inner-critic steps up and says, "What the heck are you doing? This is garbage." That is when I have to go on an author's holiday. I have to print out what I've written to date and switch from author to reader. I take my unfinished manuscript, a purple pen, and a cup of coffee, and I sit down and read what I've written from beginning to end. My goal is not to edit or proofread, although that is inevitable thus the purple pen, but to read the story as a reader. It reminds me who my characters are and what drives them. It reminds me of the little pearls of truth that I've managed to work into the story. It silences that internal critic and recharges me for the next time I sit down to write.

Now that I have figured out my need for an author's holiday, I will work it into my mold and instead of being frustrated I will accept that this is a part of my writing style.

I hope that something I have said here helps you as you go forward to create your successful writing career.


I don't often have time to write full blog posts, so if you'd like to hear from me more often follow me on Instagram for snippets of my life as an author.