Apple-Obsessed Author Fella

When Your Process Isn’t Working For You, Change Your Process

That’s it, that’s the lesson. I said it in the post headline. You can go home now.

OKAY FINE WAIT don’t go home.

So, it is once again National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, and maybe you’re doing it, maybe you’re not, maybe you’ll succeed at the task, maybe you will be overwhelmed by holiday stress and global chaos, maybe you’ll be eaten by bears, I don’t know you, I don’t know your life.

What I know is this:

When writing, and that’s true for this month or any other month, it is entirely acceptable to blow up your process with a variety of metaphorical explosives. We all think we know how we do things. We think we know how we write. We think we know how we tell stories. Over time we super-glue ourselves to our process, and in fact that process can become a part of us in a problematic way as we mythologize and even fetishize said process. (Weirder still, we will then sometimes attempt to turn our process from mythology and fetish to straight up cult and religion — look no further than any TEN WAYS YOU MUST WRITE, YOU FUCKING HEATHEN lists.) I’m guilty of this as anybody, to be clear! I definitely put a ring on my process and stayed married to it long beyond its value. Hell, the very start of my novel-writing career was born out of me shedding some rather foolish ideas I had about my process and the wifty head-in-clouds notions that governed it at the time.

And now I’ve used ‘process’ far too many times.

Process, process, process. Princess abcess praxis.

*clears throat, tries to escape this linguistic oubliette*

Anyway, my point is ultimately this: you’re gonna eventually hit a speedbump or even a wall where you discover that the Way You Write is simply no longer working. Why that is, I don’t know, because again, I am not you, I don’t know your life. But it’ll happen. And when that does, you have to be willing to change it up. Change when you write. Evening to morning, morning to evening. Change where you write: stop writing in that Starbucks, or fuck, start writing in a Starbucks, write in the Starbucks bathroom, get behind the counter and write your story in latte foam, go sit with a stranger at Starbucks and steal their laptop and write your story on it. Change something. Change the font. Change the genre. Genre the POV, the tense, who the protagonist is. Change the software, ditch the software and write by hand, ditch the notebook and write by carving your story into the dirt with a tame, content-to-be-clutched live raven. If you write every day, try writing only on the weekends. If you write only on the weekends, try writing every day. Write a little every day or a lot one day. Just–you know, just fuck some shit up.

Explode it. Boom.

Will it fix everything? Maybe not. Will it fix anything? Shit if I know. But it’s something to try, because —

It’s the only way you’ll know. It won’t solve every problem. It’s not a magical fix. But every story is different and some demand different processes. Further, you’re a different writer when you start a story than you were when you last finished one–guaranteed, you’re a new person. We shed our authorial skin regularly and sometimes that means you have to do some adjustments. Life is complicated. Our minds are chaos. Our biology is on a roulette wheel. Go with the flow and be willing to come at the story from different directions. Gotta be willing to get messy and get weird with it.

So, whether you’re doing NaNoWriMo or you’re just writing to write–

Go! Get out of here, you scamp. You know the task at hand.

Get messy.

Get weird.

Try new stuff.

*opens the airlock and boots you out of it*

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A small town is transformed when seven strange trees begin bearing magical apples in this masterpiece of horror from the author of Wanderers and The Book of Accidents.“

Chuck Wendig is one of my very favorite storytellers. Black River Orchard is a deep, dark, luscious tale that creeps up on you and doesn’t let go.”—Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus

It’s autumn in the town of Harrow, but something besides the season is changing there.

Because in that town there is an orchard, and in that orchard, seven most unusual trees. And from those trees grows a new sort of apple: strange, beautiful, with skin so red it’s nearly black.

Take a bite of one of these apples, and you will desire only to devour another. And another. You will become stronger. More vital. More yourself, you will believe. But then your appetite for the apples and their peculiar gifts will keep growing—and become darker.

This is what happens when the townsfolk discover the secret of the orchard. Soon it seems that everyone is consumed by an obsession with the magic of the apples . . . and what’s the harm, if it is making them all happier, more confident, more powerful?

Even if something else is buried in the orchard besides the seeds of these extraordinary trees: a bloody history whose roots reach back to the very origins of the town.

But now the leaves are falling. The days grow darker. It’s harvest time, and the town will soon reap what it has sown.

Buy signed / personalized copy from Doylestown Bookshop