What Is Your Writing Routine/Process?

Flint Horror ConContinuing with questions from my afternoon at the mercy of the Flint Horror Collective, I’ve rolled two into one, since they ask almost the same thing.
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The hardest thing about being a writer is finding the balance. I’ve got a day job with a fluctuating schedule, so it’s next to impossible to establish a permanent writing schedule. I have a partner whom I share my life. I have cats and a dog. I have divorced parents that are getting on in years. I have a brother who’s married with children. I play soccer, commute by bike, play the bass, have a house to work on, books to read, TV shows and movies to watch, friends to see.
All of those things are excuses not to write. It’s time to start making excuses to write.
Take yourself seriously. Make it a priority. Do you eat a Thanksgiving dinner every day? No. So why do writers feel that they need to write for three hour stretches? You might stuff your face in the car going from one job to the next. You can write the same way.
I carry a notebook 90% of the time. I have Polaris Office on my phone. I also have a Voice Recorder for those times I can’t write, but still feel creative.
When I’m not writing, it’s because I’m doing all those things I mentioned before. But I’m still thinking about stories and characters. But that’s not really enough, is it?
Writing is like exercising. You need to do it regularly to get any benefit from it. That being said, you may come out of the corner swinging in the first round, but it’s important to push yourself through second day drag (or third, or thirtieth day drag).
Couple pieces of advice:
1) Make a goal. If it’s a page, or a paragraph, or a sentence, whatever it is, make it a goal. Make it a priority.
2) Don’t stack goals. You’re on your way to bed, feeling guilty because you didn’t write your page for the day. That’s okay. Stuff happens. Saying you’re going to write two pages tomorrow is the worst thing you can possibly do. First off, it’s like saying you didn’t bench your 100lbs. today, so you’re going to do 200lbs. tomorrow. It’s not likely to work and you may hurt yourself. Second, what happens when you psych yourself out of writing two pages the next day because… whatever. Now you need to do three pages to catch up and you’re more nervous because you’ve never written that much all at once before and is this story actually good and doubts, doubts, doubts. Just do your one page. That’s enough.
I give the advice but I don’t always follow it. I’m not perfect. No one is. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
As for process…?
Writing gurus (usually with advice books to sell you) are always talking about developing your voice. I’ve talked about developing my voice as a writer. But I recently read an article that gave a compelling argument saying that writers must have many voices. These are the voices of your characters, which are in turn the voices of your stories.
So I don’t have any one process. I’ve drafted long-hand. I’ve written on my computer. I’ve written with and without outlines and notes. I’ve recorded myself doing character voices. I’ve acted out scenes. I’ve written poetry for character thoughts. I’ve written in crayon. I’ve written with my left hand. I’ve scripted out dialogue, then written the narration around it. It all depends on the story and the character and how it speaks to me.

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