How many writing blogs are you subscribed to?
Personally, I have no idea anymore. I’ve subscribed and unsubscribed (and, let’s be honest, probably resubscribed 😂) to people too many times to remember.
When I first began to really get into writing, though, I subscribed to basically everybody I could shove my email at. I wanted to learn, and I was going to get as much information as I could, from anywhere I could.
After I’d been doing my research for a while, it occurred to me how much I loved learning about this stuff, and just how much I now knew. Cue my great idea: I should start a blog of my own!
But despite my knowledge, I was still left sometimes feeling a little lost in my writing. Ideas and theories I learned didn’t really connect with me all the time. I did my best to ignore that,
living in denial taking what people in positions of higher experience and knowledge than me said to do. I did my best to follow their advice, even thought I sometimes struggled to. Because this was the right way to do it, right?
Except when, you know, I read different ways to do the exact same thing.
How could all these different people do it differently?
Luckily for me, I guess at the time I possessed some amount of common sense, and chose which one made the most sense to me. But has that ever happened to you as well? Different people, throwing different tips and information at you, all on the same topic… and leaving you floundering in utter confusion? Or maybe you’ve sometimes gotten really straightforward information handed to you on a silver platter from just one person, yet still walked away feeling like it wasn’t going to work for you?
In my case, as time went on, I began to be overwhelmed by my emails. I pretty much used to have a dedicated time of day to checking it, but I don’t anymore. I spend more time actually writing than reading about writing. And, as I mentioned, I unsubscribed from people because of this.
As I mentioned in my last post (which you should totally check out, because it’s awesome! *hint hint wink wink*) I used to be an avid follower of the ‘rules’ of writing. I would take the advice I heard and just follow it blindly. When multiple tips on the same subject appeared, I’d take the one that seemed to be the most logical and took as it the be-all-end-all method.
And then, I took it even further: I followed a writing workbook. Like, down to the question.
I am thankful to that workbook, because it taught me a lot about story flow and character development. However, if you’ve seen me talk about The Storm Inside, an old manuscript of mine, then you’ll know I also followed things to the point of making my book sterile, and the process of writing miserable for myself. I was a firm follower of the ‘rules’, and by following them, I managed to learn them inside and out.
But after you learn the rules thoroughly, things begin to change.
You see, the thing is, the further along you get on your writing journey, the more knowledge and experience you gather. And along with that comes your own unique perspective, lessons, knowledge, and needs. What one writer needs to do during the writing process is different from another.
Which means as you go along with your writing, you actually become above the idea of ‘rules’.
You can bend, break, and completely throw them out as you please.
Which is why you really shouldn’t even be reading this blog.
But don’t go unsubscribe! Because, at the same time, you really should be reading this blog.
Let me explain.
Let’s start by addressing the big factor in what this post will be circulating around: experience.
By ‘experience’, do I mean go practice your writing and gain experience so you can be like me and break the so-called rules of writing?
When I talk about experience in this post, I mean the path, the journey that every writer goes through.
This blog actually talks a lot about my own journey as a writer. (I mean, it’s in the literal tagline.) I tend to post on subjects that I’ve either just learned about, struggled with, or really feel need to be spoken on. A lot of the time, I include stories about my own journey as a writer – like I did above.
But imagine if another writer had written this post.
The story above would have been different.
And that’s the thing: even when writers talk about the same subject of writing, they bring something different and unique to the table because they have different experiences.
Now, take that idea, and also apply it to yourself.
You also have your own experiences. Your own journey. Therefore, you also bring something to the table.
Now, that’s not me trying to convince you to start a blog or something. But if the writers behind the blogs you read have different ways of doing the same thing simply because of who they are, don’t you as well?
How to Take Other Writer’s Tips and Make them Your Own
I recently began to research revising – more commonly known as the process of editing. While I’ve revamped and redone novels completely in the past
*cough* The Storm Inside *cough* I haven’t really sat down to straight up edit a novel in a long time – and the last time I did, I had just been doing it however I wanted to.
This time, though, I wanted to see what some of the best ways out there were to go about this. But, as a self-declared rebel, I also wasn’t interested in following just any one way. While in the past I chose out just one method, I no longer was going to do that.
I’m going to walk you through how I actually broke rules left, right, and center – yet still came out the other end with what would be considered a genuine process of revising. And the awesome part is that this applies to more than just revising! Literally, if you want to learn anything about writing in a way that will genuinely connect with you, personally, and work for you, personally, (unlike all the random tips that feel like throwing spaghetti at the wall…) then, well, this will be an insanely helpful section in this post for you.
This is the part where the title of my post begins to become clear. 😛
The first thing I did when I began trying to figure out the revising process was take in everything I could get my hands on. Like, everything. 😂
I know that the step says read, but that is just a general term. I mean take in all information you can in any way you can. Start by heading to people you trust. These are the writers you already follow, the ones that you know have experience, and have helped you before. To find who those are, simply think of your own favourite bloggers, podcasters, or YouTubers who discuss writing – and bingo, you’ve got a place to go to for great info.
And while the internet is a great source for writing info, I also headed on over to a more traditional method: physical books.
Do your research thoroughly; find books on the subject you want to learn about, and read them. Books actually can be a bit more trustworthy than the internet sometimes, because anyone can put anything on the internet. (Though, let’s be honest, most of writing is a matter of opinion, so it probably doesn’t matter either way. 😛 )
Step 1: Read or listen. Seriously, that’s it.
The first time you read information, take it in the way you might any other time: just read.
But at the same time, you cannot just passively take it in.
You must read through what the writer has the say on the process, see what there is to see, and if it makes sense to you at all. Sometimes the way some writers like to work doesn’t sound at all like something you would want to do in the least. Other times, they might present the subject in a way with a method you never thought of before.
Once you’ve seen what the writer is saying on the subject, take notes. Write down what makes sense to you and what resonates with you. Depending on what stage you’re at in your writing, different things will make sense to use – maybe even depending on your manuscript and what you want to achieve with it.
I probably took way too many notes, honestly. I typed them all up, just to try and keep everything straight. But it does pay off in the end, so make sure you do this step.
Step 2: Take the core ideas you find that make sense to you. Keep them close, because they’re the ones you’ll actually use.
And Chuck out Literally Everything Else
Yes I have to use that GIF it is mandatory by this point
If something doesn’t work for you, then you don’t want it. If it doesn’t align with you, and doesn’t help your writing, then you don’t need it in your life.
I would throw out parts of some of the processes I found – mostly because I knew what I wanted to keep from other ones already, and they didn’t work together so well. But the ones that didn’t make sense to me to keep went straight out the proverbial window.
Step 3: Run with what works for you, and leave behind everything that doesn’t.
Put it all Together again
I don’t know if anyone else is like this, but I personally love puzzles. Figuring out where all the pieces go is satisfying for me – and it’s the same with information.
Right now, you have all the pieces to your own puzzle laid out before you in all the notes you took. These are what you felt would actually work for you. There’s no fluff here.
The next step is all a mental game.
What is the right order to do things in? Where would all this different information you’ve gathered together go in your process?
When I researched revision, there was a lot for me to work with. I had 3 separate systems of writers written down, and I slammed them all together into one. I took questions they provided to help prompt writers, inserting them at different parts, and lining up pieces of one method with those of another, making sure they all came together in the right places.
Now, most likely, you’ll be researching something a little more simple. Maybe how to flashback correctly, or how to write an introverted character. (Which I *cough* have *cough cough* written posts on *cOUGH* and you should check out here and here *COUGH*) With subjects like that, it will likely be easier for you to figure out what works and what doesn’t for you.
But either way, during this step, something pretty amazing happens.
You are literally building your own unique process.
One that makes sense to you, resonates with you, and will work for you.
One that no one else has even talked specifically about.
Where to go from Here
Not every post you read has to be because you are developing your own method to your madness concerning the topic it speaks on. I still take in a wide array of information; I just tend to focus on a couple sources in particular, rather than from absolutely everywhere.
Find people whose information resonates with you a lot of the time, people who you know you can trust. And always read what they have to say.
Believe me, in a couple years, even you will be surprised by how much knowledge you can pull out of your head.
Not mention, as time goes on, you develop your own thoughts and opinions, changing what you were taught. So seriously, just read whatever you can on the subject of writing.
Go forth, and make your own personal writing processes! I personally enjoyed doing this, and I know you can, too. You’ve got this. 😃
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I’ll let you in on a little secret: this post is actually just helping me set up a super epic surprise I have coming up soon on the blog. 😉 If you don’t want to miss out, make sure to subscribe! If you do, you’ll not only get a free 7-day course on how to kick some writer’s block butt and a writing slump to the curb, but also emails with exclusive insider info! I’m talking the code to my Resources page – which changes monthly – snippets from my own writing, and even musical recommendations specifically for while you’re writing. It’s super epic stuff, and I hope to see you on the inside! 😄
Have you ever made your own process before?
How many blogs do you follow?
And are you excited to see what plan I have up my sleeve? 😉