I’ve tried a lot of different approaches to planning and writing a novel. I’ve researched and found all sorts of methods. Some people said to plan a lot, others said to not plan and just “start writing”. I tried the planning, I tried just going for it. I found some stuff that worked for me and a lot that didn’t.
I think the key principle is finding stuff that works “for me”. Writing is a very individual and personal process. I’m not going to cling to a method that someone else developed for his or her own purposes. That the thing that stuck out to me while reading about all these people giving advice on how to write: they came up with that stuff on their own. Why can’t I do that?
I’m not saying they are wrong or that they shouldn’t share what they learned. That knowledge is powerful, but they found what worked for them personally. What what developed from their own personal struggle with getting their imagination onto a page won’t necessarily work for me or you.
Copying others’ writing methods has not given me much success or helped me feel very good about what I worked on. Lately, I’ve tried to take a step back, pull in ideas that I want to try, and apply it in a way that best fits my style.
More than anything, sitting down and writing what came to my mind was a greater benefit than forcing myself into a predefined structure. When I do that, just sit down and write, I learn how my mind operates, how I like to organize ideas, and how I develop those ideas into something others would hopefully want to consume.
This whole process is a lot more difficult. It forces you to work harder. But if there’s one thing I learned about creation, it’s that there’s not a single method that makes it all easier. It’s hard, it’s draining, and it only gets marginally better with practice.