I've talked before about different ways to make time to write, but I also wanted to share exactly what I do and how it works (or doesn't) for me! I've spent many years perfecting how and when I write, and I still struggle with it from time to time. The most important part is finding a process that works for you.
I started writing seriously when I was in 4th grade. I got a notebook that had a puppy with a tiara on the front cover, and carried it around with me everywhere. During recess, I would sit on tree roots in the dirt and scribble in the pages, dotting my "i"'s with hearts or open circles (because, of course).
I kept writing over the summer at camp, with another set of notebooks. Every free minute I got I'd squirrel myself away, nose buried in the pages, trying to capture all of my stream of consciousness imaginings. I started journaling; not detailing my day (necessarily), but capturing anything I came across that I found interesting, from song lyrics to quotes, to folding letters in the pages from my friends.
Soon after, I got my first laptop, and began pouring my heart into it. I kept hundreds of word documents with the first five pages of different stories sketched out, and an eclectic collection of characters just waiting to have their story told. I still wasn't really serious about writing - it was just something I completely loved.
When I went to college, I decided to get serious about writing - and being organized about it. I transitioned to Google Docs and fell in love immediately. I made complicated folder structures and color-coded spreadsheets, organizing my life away (but still not yet really writing).
For me, my story started with research. Since I write fantasy, my research was mostly about world building - figuring out what my world looks like, what cultures live in it, and what traditions those cultures have. I devoured a variety of world builders guides and fantasy literature, using them as a springboard for inspiration in my own writing. I fleshed out settings and characters, sketched out some basic ideas and plots - and organized it all in my google folders.
Over time, this became a cornerstone of my process. I keep a series of folders with different information:
When I got serious about writing (and actually finishing) Summer Twilight, I started to develop an actual process to writing itself - rather than just writing when I had the time, for irregular periods.
My Process, Today
Today, I set aside time to write. It's not daily, but I write several times a week, usually for a couple of hours at a time. There are several steps I take to make this successful.
And that's it! This is what most of my weekends look like, when I have the most time to write and work on my book. During the week I'll sometimes work on edits or specific sections, but it's more informal. When I'm planning to crank out a large portion of the book (3,000+ words at a time), this is the set up that works well for me.
The Best Advice
The biggest piece of advice I have is to find something that works for you. Some people thrive writing every single day; others work well under pressure, near deadlines. Know yourself and your working rhythm - take what works for you about my process, and leave what doesn't. You can do it.
Bridget is the author of Summer Twilight, available for purchase now!