Step 4: Write!

Every writer is different, and so how you write is different. I think of writing as art, so it is okay to draw outside the lines sometimes! Styles will be different, so opinions will be different. That is okay!

For me, I tend to get an idea, and I will then play the scene in my head repeatedly until I’m sure I have it right. In that regard a lot of thinking goes into it before I even start to write. Then I’ll make a rough draft of the scene that I’ll come back to the next day to reread with fresh eyes

If I am ever stuck on a scene, I’ll pray and then just start writing. I’ll let the characters tell me what they would do. I listen carefully to hear what they would say. I try not to let my own desires get in the way and just let what the scene is meant to be, be. It’s surprising sometimes when the story then begins to go in a direction you hadn’t thought, but is better that way.

Just as you are carefully maintaining the outline, you are going to want to carefully manage your files. File names should include the date they were written such as: “Title_ChapterX_31719” where 31719 would indicate March, 17 2019.

I usually have one folder for the files I am currently working on and additional folders (marked “Completed Work”) for work that is done. If you are going to make major changes (like deleting an entire section) it is a good idea to make a copy of the file as a record of what used to be there. Move that copy into a folder marked “Deleted Scenes”, then rename the old file you just copied with an updated name to indicate the date you changed everything.

For now, keep each chapter in its own file. You won’t combine them until you are almost ready to publish. This will make working with the files easier.

Be sure to back up your work carefully. I use OneNote to back up my files every week or so. You might also email each file to yourself each time you complete a chapter. The last thing you want is to lose all of your hard work because your computer died!

See how easy that was? That only took a few years, right? Now on to Step 5: Edit!

Step 2: Pray About It

I am a Christian, and my faith permeates every facet of my life (or at least it should!). When it comes to my writing there is no exception. My faith in God has everything to do with what I write.

The first thing I do when I begin is to pray that the work that I do will be pleasing to God. In the end, I am His and my work will in a small way be a reflection of Him. So I hope it would please Him, but also that it would not offend.

That will affect not just what I write, but also what I won’t write. My characters are still flawed creatures, but there are certain situations that don’t need to be spelled out in a crude way. I also try to avoid inappropriate language while still staying true to the characters.

As Christians our work often becomes part of our sanctification, no matter what we are doing. The same discipline it takes to see a task through, to keep your calm, or to press hard when necessary will mold us into better disciples.

When it comes to writing there is an added layer to it. In Genesis God speaks and the world is formed. From thought comes substance. In that regard we ought to use our words carefully, recognizing a bit of the divine in what we are trying to achieve- creating something out of nothing.

It is not we who are divine, but our desire and work is a reflection of Him who is. So we must choose our thoughts and words carefully and with much prayer that they are pleasing to Him.

So take a minute to get yourself in the right mindset, and then on to Step 3: Make a Thorough Outline!