When people find out that I’m an author I get comments that I bet many authors get like:
“I’ve never heard of you.” Um, it’s Anna Kyle, I just introduced myself (I say silently, people, silently)
“Oh, I only read NYT bestsellers/nonfiction/thrillers.” Nod and smile.
Sometimes it’s a simple “that’s nice” before they move on to someone more exciting. And that’s totally okay.
But the really interested people, the ones whose eyes brighten and you know instantly that they love reading and writing and possibly yearn in their heart of hearts to be published, will ask questions and the #1 question is a version of “How do you do it/What’s your process?”
I love talking to them. My answer will be different from other authors simply because I’m me. Everyone’s journey in life is different and writing is no exception. My writing process is constantly evolving but some things remain constant.
WRITE WHEN YOU FEEL PRODUCTIVE. I write best in the morning so I like to wake up early on my late start days for work and write a bit. My alarm goes off every morning at 5 a.m. even on weekends. Yes, that’s the ass-crack of dawn today and the middle of the night during winter. I’d be lying if I said I write every morning, but I do it a lot. I’ve become a morning person. In my days after college I’d stay up writing until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning writing fast and furious. Not so much anymore. Work, life, responsibilities have transformed this night owl into a grumpy morning lark.
OMG GET YOUR IDEAS DOWN. I write down all my ideas, well, the good ones. Readers and writers are cut from the same cloth or two sides of the same coin, in my opinion. By that I mean we both have active, fertile imaginations. Ideas are fleeting, ephemeral. When one sparks, write it down because you WILL forget it. And yes, I keep a pad and pen by my bed but tbh, I only used it twice.
WRITE A LOT. I also don’t usually write every day (four to six days a week depending on the week). Unless a deadline is zooming toward me, then, yes, I write every day
LEARN IT. There is no substitute for learning the craft of writing. I have a writing background as a reporter and later freelance writer but I found out quickly that fiction is another beast entirely. I attended workshops and read tons of books on the subject and, if asked, that would be my #1 nugget of wisdom to readers aspiring to be authors.
Thanks for having me, Night Owl. It’s been a hoot (ugh sorry, not like you haven’t heard that one ten thousand times and cringe L I’ll show myself out 🙁 )
This post originally appeared at nightowlreviews.com in June 2016