This week I asked Laura to please tell us how she became a writer and to share a little about herself and writing process.
I’m a mother of five and have been writing for about six or seven years and have completed eleven full length novels and three novellas with six of them being published so far. I also have four other projects in various stages of completion. My writing journey began on accident when I took an online writing class to renew an expired teaching license. My five page story assignment turned into a two-hundred page story I hadn’t expected to write. When I finished it, I fixed any typos and then thought, now it should be easy to find someone to publish this.
Oh how wrong I was. It took four years before that book was picked up by a publisher, and many revisions before and afterwards, but I think those years of learning how to write after I’d written a novel have been very helpful for me.
I’ve learned many things over these seven years that I’d like to share about my writing process in case it might help give you ideas on something to try. By doing a novel on accident I learned I could finish a story, even though that first version was honestly horrid. So one point of advice is to just write something.
Another thing I’ve discovered is I’m a pantser. I get the idea, have a very basic outline of who the characters are, a main problem they have to solve, and a general idea on how the story ends then I discovery write my way through. Often times, the story changes from what I had envisioned in the beginning, but each time I end up with a completed manuscript, I always think the final product turned out better than the original idea.
Doing it this way means I often need some serious revisions, and sometimes I have to write notes to myself in the middle of the manuscript reminding me to go back to the beginning and account for my new plotline. But when I’ve tried following a stricter outline, I can’t function.
After I do a rough draft of my novel, I go over it one time, looking for obvious fixes. Typos, strange sentence structure, punctuation problems and plot problems. Then I let it sit for at least a week or more while I work on something else, or even take time off from writing. Then I read it again and look for large plot issues, problems with characters and continuity and the like. Then I let it sit again. I’ll do another read through right before sending it to my critique group. When I get it back from my critique group, I’ll go over all their notes and make the easy changes, skipping over the ones that take lots of thoughts or lots of revisions. Then I’ll go over the harder stuff on the next pass.
By the time I’ve gotten the book ready for beta readers, I’ll have revised at least six times, sometimes more.
The thing that has worked so well for me is that I have another project I’m always working on so when I’m in the let it rest stage on one project, I’m in the rough draft of another one, or I’m revising yet another one getting it ready for the let it rest. I never let myself get too bored with a project.
Something else that has been invaluable to me is writing groups. Online chatrooms where we can brainstorm and help each other, or just cheer each other on. Writers need writers. We just do. Family doesn’t cut it. Attending workshops and conferences where the basic skills as well as the more in depth writing tips are shared have helped immensely.
But the one thing that I’ve recently learned is that I do much better when I don’t compare myself to someone else. I’ll never write like another person. My stories are uniquely mine and will touch a reader in a way meant just for them.
So you be you, and I’ll be me, and together we can write what we’re meant to and share it with the people who are wanting to see what we create.
Laura grew up in a small town in central Utah and now lives in another small town in northern Utah. She always loved stargazing and imagining life out-side her own little world. Though they grew up only thirty miles apart, she didn’t meet her husband until they went to college. A graduate of Utah State University with a degree in Elementary and Special Education, Laura has been using that training as she raises her children and writes make believe worlds. You can usually find her on her laptop either typing away, or on social media interacting with friends.
I added the amazon author page with my books for a just in case, but don’t feel like you have to add it.