The Ghost of Valentine PastOver in one of my author’s groups, there have been several New Year’s resolution threads. You know the ones—what is your writing or publishing resolution for 2016?

I haven’t participated on the threads yet, because I’m too busy working on The Ghost of Valentine Past, which goes to the editor the end of the month for a Valentine’s Day release.

I noticed on one thread, the discussion turned to what they would do different when writing—such as focusing on outlining, or making some change in his or hers writing process. This got me to consider my writing process.

Author James Patterson has an online writing course, and he’s big on detailed outlining. A while back, I read Rachel Aaron’s 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love. A good book and Aaron is also a promoter of outlining.

I really wish I could follow their advise and create a detail outline—a complete roadmap so that when I sit down, all I have to do is write, because the story is already there—in the outline.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t work for me—and it doesn’t work for all writers. I believe each of us has our own creative process. We might learn and borrow another author’s method—we might even decide to do exactly what that author does when writing a book—but if the method isn’t working for me, it is futile to try shoving my circle shape neatly into the square box and expect it to fit.

I outline. But my outlines might be just one sentence for each chapter, and the order of chapters are likely to get shifted or changed all together. For me, the creative process escalates when I am in the midst of writing the book—it truly is as if there is that little voice in my head telling me a story—showing twists and turns which often surprise me.

It begins with an idea. Generally, I know what’s going to happen, how the story is going to end, and who did it. I may be wrong and learn along the way Professor Plumb didn’t do it in the library with the candlestick, as I initially planned—it was actually Colonel Mustard in cahoots with Mrs. Peacock.

So what is my writing resolution for 2016? The only thing I can think of—spend more time on my treadmill desk. Other than that, I’ll have to get back with you.

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