by M A N
Some of the best writing advice I've ever received came from Mark Waid: "Embrace your process." Basically, find the way that you get work done, no matter how counter intuitive that process may seem, and accept it. The crux here, however, is that you have to take the time to figure out what that process is.
A couple weeks ago I was having a conversation with a fellow writer while we were waiting to take the stage at the LA Festival of Books. Our conversation meandered through a variety of writing-related subjects, eventually landing on process. To that point, it was something that I had never put too much thought into and, to be honest, wasn't sure I even HAD a process. But as I started to talk about it, the more Mark's advice echoed in my brain and it solidified in my mind. Finally, I was able to recognize what my process is. This may all sound painfully prosaic, but it's something I feel most aspiring writers never think about but something that they all should.
Now, everyone's process is going to be different. What works for me most likely won't work for you. But that's the point. It's all about finding what DOES work for you and then exploiting that process to get. Shit. Done.
I'm at my most productive in the mornings. My brain is on, I'm focused, and I'm motivated from the time I crawl out of bed to lunch time. But at about 12:30, 1:00, I become a useless husk. I am completely unable to form coherent thoughts, let alone dredge up the mental acuity needed to tell a story. So I've learned to get my work done early. Occasionally, the work I do in the morning will carry me into the afternoon. On those days, I hunker down and write as much as I can, forgoing food or bathroom breaks until my body absolutely needs to be dragged away from the keyboard because I know that the second I step away from my computer, I'm done. Those days don't come around very often, but when they do, I try to take advantage of them.
So finding the best time of day to write is a critical step to understanding your process. For me, I now know that if I'm not writing by 11:00, chances are I won't get anything done that day. And fruitless days are the death knell of a freelancer.