Writing Tips

Knowing What Kind of Writer You Are

I was speaking to my friend (and critique partner) about our books the other day. I’m in the editing process but she’s still in the writing the draft process.

And we were envious of each other!

You see, I think there’s different kinds of writers who thrive in different ways. I thrive in the writing process. I enjoy this part the most, tackling a blank page and letting the creative juices run wild! Whilst my friend and fellow author prefers to fix a manuscript after the first draft and thrives with rewrites and adding detail afterwards.

And neither is wrong or right.

So, what other types of writers are there? Which are you?

Plotter versus winger

When it comes to writing a book (or I guess most kinds of writing forms) there’s two ways you can go about it. One, planning it out plot point by plot point; or two, winging it! You can have a set list of events or you can see where the story goes.

There’s a lot of discussion that can go into this, but I feel like I’m a plotter when it comes to my books for the most part, but I allow for (and really welcome) the points when the story and its characters take over and it takes me off course.

This works for me.

There are other writers, though, who prefer to leave most of their plot up to chance. Yes, they will have a story idea (hopefully) but what happens in between and how the characters get from point A to point B is left down to chance.

There’s good and bad in both methods. Plotters can lose the creativity and character driven-ness of their plot if they stick to their plans too much. And wingers can find themselves confused, stuck, or at a loss if they don’t know what is happening when they come to the page.

There’s no right way! A mixture of both seems nice though, right?

Writer versus editor

As I said before, I love the writing part and my friend loves the editing part. Different writers thrive and enjoy different stages of a book.

Do you enjoy laying the foundations more, or adding the decoration after?

Logic versus creative

This is similar to plotters versus wingers but different writers will tackle their work differently. Some take the logical route of following what “should” work and what the industry does or genre conventions (etc etc). But some like the creative route of doing whatever their imagination can to bring the story to life above all else.

Rusher versus sloth

I think we all can think of authors who push books out like there’s no tomorrow, and then there’s the George R. R. Martins of the group who take years and years to finish.

Going too fast with a plot can have its downsides but so is going too slow. I think we all could do with a happy medium but hey, if your best writing comes from being fast or being slow – do what you gotta do!

Noise versus silence

Different writers thrive in different environments. Some work best in coffee shops amidst noise. Others prefer the silence of a library or their home. Some have busy, disruptive home lives. Some love to write to music or with the tv on, others not so much.

Don’t do what others do because you think you’re supposed to; do what works best for your writing and your work.

Sharer versus secretive

Some love to share their writing, others only write for themselves. Some love the feedback of others; others would prefer to not get it. Whether you’re secretive about your work or not, at one point or another someone is going to have to read it so don’t hold on too tightly!

Notebook versus laptop

This is a good one. I find that I write more when on my laptop but I write more creatively and naturally when using a notebook. I don’t know if that’s just me.

With a laptop, there’s the temptation of the internet so close by! (Admit it, it sucks you in, too). But with a notebook, there’s the hand cramp!

Endless writing versus going back

Lastly, some enjoy the act of just writing and writing their manuscript until it’s done. Others feel the need to go back every now and then and edit as they go along.

I used to be the latter, but with my current manuscript I’ve been the former- and I’ve found that it works better for me! The danger of going back is that you can get stuck in the routine of going back so much that you hardly go forwards. Of course on the other hand, there’s the danger of writing endlessly until you’re finished but then you read back over it and it’s absolute trash! (Doubtful, but still).

What types of writer am I?:

  • Plotter – mostly, yes
  • Writer – definitely
  • Creative – I like to nourish my plots and ideas for me and what I want or the characters want, not what audiences want or what’s “right” and “logical” for the industry.
  • Sloth – this one was hard because I wrote my first draft (not even a rough draft but the whole finished book) in about 2 months but I always have a tendency to really sit with it for a long time and add and stretch and develop whether it’s “done” or still in writing stages.
  • Silence – again, this is a hard one because I do sometimes like to have music on (instrumentals and movie scores) but I’ve always been scared to write in a coffee shop and I hate the tv being on as it’s too distracting! So, silence works best for me.
  • Secretive – I share my blog every week, yes, but my novels are always quite secretive. I always have the fear that someone will steal my ideas or ruin them! But I do like discussing my story with loved ones and my critique partner, people I trust and who help my story develop.
  • Laptop – I love writing in my notebook but down to my dodgy wrists and easily cramped hands, I can’t do it for very long. My best writing flows happen on my laptop for this reason.
  • Endless writing – as I said before, I never used to do this but it’s really worked excellently for me this time and so I’ll keep going it.

What kind of writer are you? Let me know!

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