I’ve always found it interesting to read about other authors’ writing processes, so I thought I would document mine (such as it is) here. Understand that since I’m working on my first book, this may change. However, it has worked for me so far.
First, I started with an outline. That was probably the best decision I made. I don’t know how I would have made it as far as I have without some kind of roadmap. It has made sitting down to write easy, because I already know what needs to happen in each chapter. My outline is pretty simple; just a list of chapters, and what happens in each chapter. I have changed it a few times as well, as I’ve discovered that something wasn’t working, or that I didn’t have enough happening in a chapter. But having a good solid outline before I started writing was essential. I can’t imaging writing a book without one.
Once I had the outline, I started on the book itself. To save me from having to switch between the outline and the main document all the time, I just pasted the outline into a new document, then made each chapter description start on a new page. That way, I could just scroll up a bit to see what I needed to write for that chapter. Because of this, my original outline document is now out of date. Any outline changes I made were just done right in the main document. I think this worked out well; trying to keep both in sync would have been extra work that wouldn’t have gained me anything. Once I’m done with the first draft, I will probably move the chapter descriptions back to the outline document, and make sure they are up to date with what I’ve actually written.
I’m still a full time software developer, so I don’t get to write all day every day. Instead, I find time wherever I can. That means before or after work, lunch time, and weekends. I don’t always work at the same computer, so I set up Dropbox on all the computers I might work on. That way, no matter where I sit down to write, I have the latest copy of my document ready and waiting for me. It has worked out really well, plus it gives me even more backups of my file in case something goes wrong.
I haven’t reached this point yet, but my plan for once I’ve finished the first draft is to let it sit for a few weeks before starting the second draft. I’m still considering how I might approach the second draft. I’ll write another post once I get that far.