• Our Writers’ Secrets Revealed: Part II

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in WBN News & Events     Comments No comments

    Recently we introduced a Time Management Questionnaire designed to help you carve out much-needed writing time from your busy schedule. In four painless steps, this questionnaire  will make you examine your writing process and amp up your productivity (even if it’s currently nonexistent!).

    Figuring out what works for you is important. Still, a little inspiration never hurts. Good thing that we’ve got plenty of it here at WBN.

    Two weeks ago we invited you inside the process and productivity of five members of the WBN team. Today, read on to learn how five more of WBN’s talented coaches and consultants approach their own writing. (When they’re not helping writers via our signature writers’ services, of course.)

    Reese Kwon

    WBN Coach and Consultant Reese KwonWhen do you write?

    I write at different times of day, but I do like to try to write just after I wake up.

    How often do you write?

    I try to write every day.

    Where do you write?

    At my dining table.

    What’s your process from start to finish?

    It varies wildly! Lately, I’ve been revising entirely by hand.

    Brian Nicolet

    WBN Coach and Consultant Brian NicoletWhen do you write?

    I don’t have any strict rules on this, but I typically write in the evening or late at night. Exceptions exist, however. Lately, for instance, I’ve had the good fortune of having several work days cancelled on account of central Texas’ concept of a “snow day”; these I’ve devoted almost entirely to writing. That last assertion is almost certainly a lie, although I did actually get a lot of work done. A lot of writers find they do their best work early in the morning; I’ve almost never had success with this. To the point that I’ve actually found myself thinking there’s something wrong with those people. I don’t think I actually mean that. But there’s a sanctity to the solitude at night, however illusory, that I find liberating. It probably also has to do with the fact that then I’m more prone to ruminate on the happenings of the day. Some writers like to start fresh; I tend to sift through the detritus. I hope nobody’s reading these answers. If you suspect you are, please stop.

    How often do you write?

    I’ve never adhered to a strict routine, and I’ll be surprised if I ever do. By not turning it into “work” (in the pejorative sense) (or trying not to anyway), I find I naturally sit down to write at least several times a week. In my more generative periods I’ll write every day, and I’ll go through my day obsessing over whatever it is I’m working on. In slower periods I may only show up to the page once or twice a week. One day last week I worked for about six hours straight. I’ve spent years trying to get to a place where I don’t dwell on this variability, don’t beat myself up for times when I’m writing less frequently. This attempt has had mild success. I’m not advocating any of this to anyone.

    Where do you write?

    It seems to change every time I move. Ideally it’s my desk, which I’ve had since I was young, but it depends on where my desk is. My last apartment was very cave-like (small, very little natural light, etc.), and for that year I found I could never settle into a routine at the desk. Instead I wrote at cafes and bars. Sometimes I would take a stack of books and my laptop and sit in the bed of my truck for hours. In another former residence I almost exclusively wrote at the picnic table on the patio, even if it was near freezing outside. I don’t know why that was the only place that felt right at the time, and I’m embarrassed that I was so inflexible at the time. None of this matters. In my current residence I have more space and good light. I’m happy to report my desk seems to be fully operational again.

    What’s your process from start to finish?

    I resist the notion of a set process, so here again I worry I would only be enumerating the various permutations rather than articulating some kind of consistent methodology that might be helpful to anyone. I guess I try to exhaust each thing until I finally can do nothing more with it. On extremely rare occasions this happens rather quickly (though this is often deceptive). Other things I’ve been revisiting and gradually altering for years. Most things, actually. Even things I’ve already published. Nothing is safe. Nothing completely satisfies. Rarely is anything quote-unquote done. I’m just speaking for myself here. If I didn’t find something invigorating about trying to produce some semblance of order out of a complete goddamn mess I’d say the whole process is downright depressing. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t.


    Cecily Sailer

    WBN Coach and Consultant Cecily SailerWhen do you write?

    I write when I can, which is usually at night, usually at the tail end of the day. But I try to set aside more time on the weekends to keep the momentum going.

    How often do you write?

    I’m usually only able to squeeze three days a week, unfortunately. I should be writing every day. If nothing else, I do a daily page in a journal at the very end of every evening.

    Where do you write?

    Sometimes sitting on the bed, sometimes at the kitchen table (which is near a large window to the backyard), sometimes in the office I specifically set aside for precisely this purpose, sometimes in a coffee shop to quell the isolation and surround myself with strangers.

    What’s your process from start to finish?

    I’m not sure I can describe it, other than: messy until order begins to reveal itself.


    Giuseppe Taurino

    WBN Coach and Consultant Giuseppe TaurinoWhen do you write?

    Mostly, I write after my daughter’s bedtime, between 8:30 – 10 pm. Though, sometimes, I actually write and/or revise during lunch at work.

    How often do you write?

    On average, I write about 4-5 days per week.

    Where do you write?

    I tend to write at the dining room table or my desk, though I will head out to a coffee shop if I need a change of scene.

    What’s your process from start to finish?

    I typically think about what I plan to work on before actually sitting down (i.e. a specifc scene, revision, editing, a sentence or image I’ve been mulling over). Sometimes I actually work on what I’ve thought through, but on many occasions the session will veer off in some way or other. Regardless, focusing my energy beforehand helps me fill the tank a bit and provides momentum. Whether that momentum leads to sixty productive minutes or five is contingent upon the kind of day I’ve had and where I’m at with whatever I’m working on. When the energy is gone, I call it a night.


    Emily Gray Tedrowe

    WBN Coach and Consultant Emily Gray TedroweWhen do you write?

    I write as soon as I kick my kids out of the house (i.e., after I’ve dropped them at school).  I aim for 9 am to noon, when I break for lunch and then turn to my other work related to teaching, coaching, etc.  I try to stick to this schedule even on the many days (more in polar vortex season) when the girls are home from school, too, although I’ll probably cut it short to an hour of writing first thing even though that means I’ll probably be typing with PBS’s “Arthur” as the soundtrack in the background.

    How often do you write?

    I shoot for six and usually end up with five.  My ideal would be seven days a week, an endless loop of writing days, no weekends or holidays or snow days or sick days or vacations or breaks… but we don’t live in that world, unfortunately.

    Where do you write?

    In a “room of my own” – it’s actually, ahem, our front-hall closet – which I repurposed to house my desk, a bookcase, printer and files.  My kids call it my hidey-hole.  I love my cozy little space… there’s really no room to do anything in there other than move words around on a computer screen or a piece of paper.  It helps that I love it so much when I dismay at the plethora of winter coats, boots, and backpacks stacked haphazardly everywhere else outside in the hallway.

    What’s your process from start to finish?

    I dream my novels for a while before I start writing them; I read and take notes and visit settings.  I walk around imagining the story for months, keeping it like a secret.  But once I start writing the first draft, I hit the ground running and try to write the entire draft through in a consistent steady pace – maybe 500 to 1000 words a day, with as few breaks as I can, never more than a day or two off.  Then I get reads on the draft (rarely ever before a full manuscript is completed).  Then I buckle down and revise, revise, revise.  This is usually the time when the idea for a new novel bubbles up.  So I dream about that while struggling to make the current work as good as it can be.


    What about you, WriteByNighters? When do you write, how often, where, and what’s your process? Let your fellow writers know in the comments below.

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