I’ve been writing stories since I was ten years old. Earlier, if you count the ridiculously detailed games of make-believe I used to press on my friends. And yet my method is always changing, morphing, expanding. In the past two months, I’ve done a whole lot of things that I’ve never done before, and it’s improving my writing in a way I never could have done while staying in my comfortable habit zone. Here’s what’s new in my writing world:
- Outlined an entire series before starting on the first book. It’s ridiculously a lot easier to change an outline than to change a draft. You’d think I’d have figured this one out a long time ago.
- Wrote a draft in six weeks. Never have I ever done NaNoWriMo. The very thought of it stresses me out. But with my handy-dandy detailed outline in hand, I punched out the fastest (and best) first draft I’ve ever accomplished.
- Got feedback from a new reader. Two new readers, actually. And getting that fresh perspective on my writing has given me new eyes to see where I can improve.
- Edited on a hard copy. Every time I opened my draft on the computer, I would stare at it blankly for ten minutes and close it again. So I printed it out, and yesterday I got a third of it edited and an important scene rewritten. Longhand. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve written fiction longhand?
- Begun organizing some multi-author events. Super excited about this one. Author events are okay on your own, but when you get to hang out with other super cool authors at the event, it gets ten times awesomer.
In the book Lighten Up!, Chieko Okazaki says, “I want us to make up our own minds, experiment with one form and abandon it without feeling guilty if we find it doesn’t work, listen to what works for other people, find something else, seek the Father’s will, find still something else, move into a different season of our lives, and find still something else” (17-18).
I’m a firm believer that trying something new is how we progress in all areas of our lives, and writing is no exception. So tell me—have you tried something new lately? If not, then what are you going to do about it? What’s the next new thing that’s going to give you a new spin on the world?