Writing is fun. Writing doesn’t seem like work to me. Yet, my anxiety levels rise before I begin each manuscript. Why? Because it isn’t easy writing stories and books without asking myself questions like, will I ever finish this OR will my readers like this protagonist and story? You may be surprised to hear about this considering that I’m a few books and many short stories old in this industry but this is how it is.
For my last manuscript (not published yet), I started a new method to make the actual writing process less stressful. I decided to make good use of my pretty, colourful index cards. Yes, I’m a stationery addict. I started by making a chapter by chapter outline. So using one card per chapter, I listed characters, settings, main focus of each chapter, including twists and conflict.
Unfortunately, approaching the manuscript chapter by chapter still made me anxious; chapters are longish chunks of a story and it can be overwhelming if you think of each chapter as you sit down to write. So what did I do? I went ahead and divided each chapter into scenes. It’s nice to visualise your story as it happens. Each chapter consists of a couple of scenes in my case, so now my index cards stack has numbered cards for each scene in my book. That means that every writing session is less anxiety-provoking as I deal with one little chunk of story at a time. Hope that makes sense.
And I go through my cards every day after a scene is written, sometimes adding in a scene or changing slight details in another. Once I had to flip the order of two scenes.
Some of my author friends use software to organise their writing process but I’m old school I guess 😃