What type of writer are you?

25 May

How many books have you read that tell you how to be a successful writer? How many times has someone said to you, ‘No you don’t want to do it that way.’

Image borrowed - linked to an article recommending great books for writers!

Yep. We have all been there. Everyone, as with everything in life, thinks their way is the best way, and you are simply doing it wrong.

What I have found intriguing lately, is I am not a stereotypical writer. I do not have a set way of approaching my work. It varies, as do each of my story lines.

So what are the stereotypical approaches?

* Writing of each significant scene and then back filling

* Planning each scene to the finest detail before writing

* Opening up a blank screen and throwing the words at it like a crazed artist just to get the first draft complete

* Simple synopsis brief, but each chapter polished within an inch of its life before moving forward.

**I suspect there are many more approaches that I am yet to come across. Tell me yours..

As I say, I am not a typical writer, I do jump about depending on my needs, and I think time plays a large role in this, however, I have discovered the most amazing thing EVER!. You can swap about within a piece that you are writing. One day you can write like a crazed person. The next day you are meticulous, and on the following day you can back fill the flaws in your plot. It simply doesn’t matter.

You know what? Its your writing. Its your story. You can do whatever you want!

However, you do need to approach your writing professionally. Being slap dash will not get you anywhere. Acting the crazed writer but not taking the time to be exact when you edit will only result in you falling flat on your face.

I would be more wary however of the writer who is overly meticulous at planning, writing, editing, and…well just never truly lets go. We all know of someone who wrote something several years ago…it still needs final tweaks…maybe one day it will be finished…

That kind of attitude will never see you finished, and I do question the merits of that writer. Maybe I am wrong to say that, but I can only compare this to my limited experience in art class. I wanted to draw. I wanted to paint, to sculpt, for people to say wow, that’s really good. It was never going to happen. Quite simply at best my skills in that department should be described as limited. However it didn’t stop me trying. I must have gone through more pencils and erasers than the entire school put together. The worst part was, it wasn’t necessary. rather than accepting that I had done my best, I kept striving to be as good as the others. As a result, my picture has walked out the room in disgust before I had sat at the desk.

The worst part of this is I actually enjoyed trying up to the point that I realised it was all wrong and scrunched the paper, nobody said to me, it’s OK, just enjoy the session for what it is – don’t beat yourself up.

If only I had used colour paper I could have created something like this instead of heading for the recycling bin. Seriously, this would be pushing my ability. (Needless to say I have borrowed this image).

We can’t all do everything well. It would be pretty boring if we could.

We are all very different, in what we write (if we write), and how we approach our writing. We are all the same in that no matter how much we copy we will fail. Be yourself, accept you for you, and you shall succeed.

What type of writer are you? Do you even consider yourself a writer? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. As I say, no way is the right way, but it is fun trying.

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13 Responses to “What type of writer are you?”

  1. submeg October 31, 2011 at 6:51 am #

    I realise now what kind of writer I am. I have had a think about this and realise that at times I will want to write lots. Other times I will want to plan. The main aspect that ties them together is that I’m always thinking about what it is I will be writing…subconsciously I am always chewing on my story; like a cow chewing cud. I’m always processing, thinking, wondering what if…hopefully it will lead to a more refined idea when I begin to put pen to page to turn the plan into a story.

    • Ellie October 31, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

      That is a great way to be. As long as, when you feel the urge to write, it doesnt get drowned out by day to day chores.

  2. submeg June 20, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    I haven’t written in so long, that I’m not sure what kind of writer I am. It will be interesting to find out!

  3. Ellie May 25, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    Charlotte – although i praise the crazed writer approach I do have one major downfall. EDITING.

    The part where I talk about being slap dash is me 100%. Don’t get me wrong, I do have moments of clarity, but I do need somethone holding my hand through the process. I will always miss where a character has blonde hair and it switches to brown, or even worse the name of the central character has changed. Without a doubt, I know this is my area that needs much improvement (as my school report would say!)

  4. Laney May 25, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    Funny…I just wrote a post similar to this yesterday. I’m the over-analyzing, pantster writer. makes for a lot of headaches and hair pulling…but, I am trying to embrace it:)

    • Ellie May 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

      You are like so many others. If it gets you nearer to the end, then that is the best approach. I struggle with that one – i end up discarding everything and deciding it was the WORST idea ever!

      I did the hair pulling for four months at the end of last year. I did abandon the work but there are parts of it that keep haunting me. Guess the idea isnt as dead as I thought!

  5. Candice L Davis May 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    I had a writing instructor who wrote an amazing novel using the write the scenes out of order approach. She won awards for that book, and deserved every one of them. She also wrote over 1000 pages and cut away most of them. That hasn’t ever worked for me

    The right approach is whichever one gets you to THE END.

    • Ellie May 25, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

      Absolutely! That is excatly why it is your choice! No once can ever say you were wrong when you are at the end.

  6. Charlotte May 25, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    Nice topic. I’ve started to feel really annoyed at the amount of writerly advice that’s floating around laying down dogmatic rules for how you should approach writing. Writers love to give advice, it seems. I like your conclusion: quite true, you can do whatever you want. In fact, you should.

    I’ve found an approach between planning and crazed artist worked for the first novel. Leaning in the direction of the crazed artist, though. I took to writing brief outlines for upcoming scenes later in the draft, but for the most part I seem to need to just delve in and get writing before the ideas start coming. I can’t just stare at a page and work out a story stone cold.

    Another approach I’ve heard about is to write all the scenes out of sequence, then assemble the story like a jigsaw puzzle. That flabbergasts me. I can’t even imagine writing like that – I’d get in such a confused mess – but apparently it works really well for some. Proof enough that we all have to figure out our own ways of working.

    • Ellie May 25, 2011 at 11:46 am #

      Whaaaaat???? That just seems CRAZY!! it is so crazy, I think I shall try that one myself – I reckon it has got to beat those days of writers block.

      For me personally, i wince as I say this because I would never want it to be taken the wrong way, the best work comes from the crazed writer approach. Although I am happy to accept that it may just be you looking back at the quantity of the work rather than the quality at the end of the day. What do you think? Can each approach mislead you?

      • Charlotte May 25, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

        I think both (all?) approaches have their pitfalls.. the beef I have with the planning approach is that I think it can lead to rather cold, dry writing, and you can end up trying to awkwardly twist your story round to make it fit your plan if it starts going astray. There’s no room in there for any organic growth (not in every case, of course, this is the extremes of planning). I like the crazed writer approach because what you write next springs naturally, and hopefully logically, from what you’ve previously written, without too many contrivances emerging.

        The downside to that, of course, is that sometimes one does write a great quantity of drivel. You’re perfectly right that thorough editing is particularly important if you didn’t plan very much.

  7. FIFALDE May 25, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    Brilliant post! I’m not a writer – at least I write a huge amount but not ever with a view of being published in any significant way – but I really think you need to enjoy what you do even if your living depends on it. I think “tax bill” books stand out, even from a good established author. If your work doesn’t look so good the next day – add it to the paper sculpture; you will still have learned something from it.

    • Ellie May 25, 2011 at 11:48 am #

      Oh how funny you should mention that. I am in the early stages of thinking about a post related to that subject – a recognised name doesn’t always mean a good read.

      i won’t say too much right now, but I think it is a great shame that quality works get left on shelves whilst authors who have seen the £££££’s are churning out a couple of books a year of the back of once quality work.

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