What is it about a successful writer’s process that fascinates us so much? I guess there’s something about learning the nuts-and-bolts of how they work that seems to hold the key to improving our own performance on the page. Mostly, of course, it just comes down to writing and rewriting. But still, those little tips seem to help.
Just recently, I came across an interview with best-selling author Tatiana de Rosnay, the author of Sarah’s Key, in which she was asked about her writing regimen. I’m passing along some highlights from her responses, for two reasons. First, in the hope that some aspect of the way she works might prove useful to you. And second, as a spur to us all to think about our own process — how we work best. Here’s a glimpse of Tatiana’s MO:
• She starts writing each of her novels in small moleskin notebooks and then switches to her computer. If she hits a roadblock, she goes back to her notes.
• She works on whatever book she’s writing every day, even on weekends and
holidays (so does Stephen King).
• To minimize disruptions, she writes early in the morning and late at night.
• She reads what she’s written aloud. If she “cringes,” she rewrites — and keeps
at it until she doesn’t feel like cringing when she reads it aloud again.
• She has three “first” readers, including her husband. She never lets anyone
else look at her completed draft before her three trusted readers have seen it.
• When she feels she’s not getting anywhere on her book, she gives it a rest and
writes something else: an email, an article, a short story — and then returns to it.
• She can’t write while listening to music, but admires writers who can.
How about you? If someone asked you to describe your writing process, what would you say? I’m going to think about this questions myself. Write on!