What’s your writing method? Are you a panster or plotter? Do you write in chronological order or do you skip to the scenes you’re in the mood to write? Do you need noise or complete quiet when you write?
I’ve known writers who range across these three questions along with many more but you know what? They all produce, they all love to write and they are doing what is right for them. That’s important, especially as a writer trying to find your way in this very tough industry (which is quite a few of us). It’s okay to try different styles and methods to see what helps you—you never know what you can pick up or learn that will help your craft—but you need to also remain true to yourself and what helps you best get those words on the page (of course meaningful words that move your story along). What works for somebody else may not work for you and trying to force it can sometimes quash your creativity.
I am by nature a panster. It’s not to say I haven’t tried plotting, I have—really detailed plots too. I’ve sat down and written outlines of everything that is going to happen in my chapters, my characters’ personality types including their favorite colors and foods, researched locations and mapped out imaginary towns. Now in doing this, I realize the research portion is hugely important to writing a novel, at least if you want it to have any accuracy depending on your period and setting; however, the detailed outlines and character charts didn’t work very well for me. By the time I finished writing my book, my characters were nothing like I had planned them to be and I had completely strayed from my outline.
I’ve learned that’s okay. For me, I have to get to know my characters as I write my first barebones draft. I’ve also learned that a short outline does work for me. Instead of filling my outline with details I now put a short, general sentence in for each chapter. I know my goal for that chapter but it is up to my creative mind to figure out how my characters get there.
Do you know what works for you? If you don’t, try different methods or techniques out. Create an environment conducive to your writing and see what you like. Only then, will you truly find what fits.