What Type of Writer are You?



hello everyone I'm professor geek welcome back to the channel and welcome to another writing video I made one of these last week in a couple weeks ago and it got a pretty good response it wasn't one of the you know viral videos or anything like that but the people who responded seem to really appreciate it are it's spawned a Spartan spark some conversation and everything like that so I thought I'd make another one I'll put a link to that last writing video in the top right hand corner there and that was all about the plight of writers today the the problems of breaking into the industry today and the things that you can do to you know to overcome them and all that kind of stuff so today I wanted to talk our tonight as it is you can see I wanted to talk about there's a step in writing then it kind of happens naturally but if you know that you need to take this step as you're starting out you'll you'll get through it faster and you'll get through it more efficiently and you'll come out of it you know in a better place knowing knowing better getting to know yourself better but that's the the step of getting to know yourself as a writer you already know your taste you already know the ideas that you have I mean hopefully you've been having these ideas that's the thing that is turning you on to be a writer and to write it all down and that's good that's great and that's something that you cultivate taste as you lived through life but you know your themes and things that are important to you that's just that's just you that's the stuff that you know it's already there and it's already going to be great you know once you want to get the writing but to know what kind of a writer you are to know are you the kind of person that needs a lot of prewriting are you a pre writer and by prewriting I mean taking notes copious notes sometimes if you're if you're writing something that demands a bit of world-building I know some people who whether they're writing fantasy fiction or historical fiction or anything they'll just they'll start their writing process for a book by coming up with just massive files of this is what this characters background is if this is what this cities background is and so forth and they'll really they do all that research work and that helps them you know that helps them when it comes time to actually write the narrative they've got all of the the ephemeral stuff and the peripheral stuff rather they've got all that taken care of so they don't need to stop you know if they come to a sticking point what should this characters uncle be named or something I don't know whatever you know that helps them and that's okay that's fine if you're the kind of writer that does that then don't let anybody shame you for that some people will try and shave me or say oh you're just procrastinating you know writing the story that's the other thing about this is that a lot of people who are skilled writers have made it and they're successful on their own sometimes they tend to think that they're way the way they made it is the only way to make and they try and tell people that you need to do XYZ because it works for them and that's great that it worked for them but writing as much as it is a craft it is something that needs to be learned it's also an intensely personal process it is an art as well so it's an expression and that's gonna the way you express those things a lot of that's going to come from your own temperament your own life experiences and your own you know how you do things so if you are somebody that can benefit from a lot of prewriting that's great creating files you know coming up with all that stuff just taking some notes or outlining you know and outlining is a big thing that people trying to shame you for if you don't do but it helps a lot of people and even if you not if you're not an outliner it would help to at least have the experience you know a few times of outlining I'm not an outliner at all I cannot it kills the fun of writing for me it really does I feel like if I outline a story I feel like I've already told the story you know it's already there on paper at least in outline form it's just kind of the fun of writing it has gone bad so you know I don't I don't outline my stuff a lot of people were just hard you how can you how can you say you're a writer an outline or whatever so outlining is something if you're a very organized person and that's that's a tool that you could use you know in terms of prewriting so are you somebody that gives a lot of thought to prewriting another aspect of prewriting and everybody needs to give something some weight to prewriting but sometimes if you're like me it's just thinking about the story I'll spend a long time a long time just you know hours or days or weeks just depending on what the what my schedule in life is like at that point but I'll just think and think about this story and kind of think it through there are things that I just need to spend some time with quietly with this story or with these characters or with this idea or whatever before I can really start to write it in the kind of linear fashion any kind of narrative form and that's pretty writing that's prewriting so whatever kind of prewriting you know works for you best figure that out you need to try it all you can't just say well I think I'll be cousin to this one and that's just what you do you do need to try it out because you might surprise yourself so learning you know getting to know yourself as a writer what works best for you what doesn't what kind of prewriting do you do the next thing is you have to write to be a writer as much as I said you know don't let people shame you for quote-unquote procrastinating it is true that a lot of people who want to be a writer will procrastinate they'll just stay in that phase of thinking about their story they like to tell other people about their story they like to go on YouTube and streams and tell other people what they're thinking about writing and this isn't that and you know you can get addicted to that and that's all you do because you never take that first step in actually putting it on the paper or on the screen or whatever you have to do that you have to across that threshold that is what really makes you a writer you can be a great pre writer but if that's all you are then you're a great pre writer so stop talking about what you're gonna do wonderfully one day shut up and do it you know you have to put the words down at some point so what works best for you and that there's all types of ways that that work best for people when it comes to actually getting the words on paper or on screen for one thing do you want to work directly on a computer screen or in a notebook or something like that and type it up later you know it's not as many people but some people do still like that tactile sensation of just scribbling and writing in a notebook because of whatever reason their thoughts can flow more freely it's not as they don't feel as detached from it as they are when it comes to a screen you know that's you know that's it's kind of it's more of an older school kind of thing to do a lot of older people still do that but you know there are young people still rise up enough and find that that's a bit more beneficial to them so try that out you don't try that out is that help you are do you are you like me and you need the screen you need to be able to copy and paste and move things and click the synonym function you know and whatnot and you know you know just immediately edit you know why you're going along and stuff like that so that's another thing you need to know about yourself now sometimes the answers to these questions will relate to each other because like I said I'm not an outliner I can't outline because I don't outline I have to accept that I'm gonna have to do a lot of revision everybody has to do revision when it comes to writing but if you don't spend the time prewriting and outlining and really organizing things carefully well then it just stands to reason that you're gonna have to do a lot more on the backend going back into the draft really spending a lot of time rewriting things reworking rethinking about it so there's a trade-off there or and everybody does that no matter what and I'm a rare writer I'm only met a few other people who are published and successful writers who do this like I do but those people are really successful so I don't feel like such a freak i I can't some people will say you just need to write it all out it's your whole idea out don't think about it don't worry about going back and fixing anything it's important it's really important to get the whole idea out get the whole story out on paper just say you've finished it that's a big milestone then you can go back and work on it now again people will swear by this but that just works if that's your kind of temperament that does not work for everybody I would die I would not want to read I would not where I write rather if that's if that's the way I wrote I would not die it would be fun for me I can't continue writing the next scene when I know in my head the next day that just wasn't really there I'd rather go monkey with that so I tend to edit as I write that doesn't mean that I don't have to go back in the end and do all the revision and stuff still but that's just me and my writing style that's what makes it fun for me and that's what makes it up you know interesting keeps me going is to come to the paper the screen rather every day and go back and fix some of the things I wrote the last day you know go back and fix some of that first and just make sure I'm still you know you know that's that's just how I work some people would drive them crazy to do that but again you learn your process you learn do you need just to get it all out in one draft and return to it later or do you need to kind of edit as you go along to stay interested you staying interested is the big thing if you get bored with your own story well you're not going to complete it but how can you ever expect a reader not to get bored with it you know so so there's that people will also tell you sometimes that just work on one story and to finish that story first stops you know you can't just start a bunch of different things and then you know you don't end up finishing any of them well on some level that there's wisdom at that but I can't that's not how I write I I have to have three or four different projects going at the same time and then whatever day you know if I'm in the mood to write on this one this day or whatever that's how my brain works if I just just restricted myself to one project I wouldn't finish it as quickly and when I did eventually finish it it would a lot of it would be really half-hearted because I'm not really pouring my heart and soul and tooks my interest wasn't there on those days that I didn't want to write that story able to dry something else so you know other people though they would go crazy having their you know too many fires going at the same time and other people need to have just the one project so you know figure out where you stand in that and the last thing I'll say in this video is in terms of when you write I cannot tell you how many times I've grown by hearing some other writing professor our author you know stand up and say you have got to get up early in the morning and write that is the golden time if you if you don't do that if you can't make yourself get up two hours early that you don't want to be a writer and blah blah blah I just wished all these people would shut the hell up people have different times of the day when they are more creative when they are more alert and good for you grandpa you got up or whatever you know good for you that that works good for you that you know you're a single mother and you can do that before the kids know demand things of you that's great but that's not how everybody works it sure as hell is not how I work mornings nothing good comes from the mornings frumpy ia mean night out night al night now all the way and in nighttime is when I come alive when my creativity really sparks so I I'm a night person I write at night figure out what the best time of day for you to write is and then try to carve out some of that time every day but and this is the last thing that I'll say ending on this thing about you know when do you write don't beat yourself up if you can't write every day because there are people who will say if you're not writing every day that you might as well just quit because you know no you do have to write every day but writing is not always putting words on a screen or putting words on the paper like I just said there are there's a prewriting stage for a lot of people that's just thinking about something there are their uncle week we can have sometimes just really mulling over things just thinking about a story maybe I'll go back and do a little edits on another idea or something like that but when it comes to a new story I won't do anything to it or um or go to the next chapter or the next stage unless I've really spent a lot of time thinking about it and you know life in your schedule will have a lot of bearing on that as well if you get busy and you just can't write or whatever don't let people shame you into not being a writer just because you're not you know militantly carving out three hours of your day every day to sit in your in your designated writing area and whatever you know that's great for people that that works for but it doesn't always have to be the case so that's a that's where I'll leave this this uh this video getting to know yourself as a writer those are three I guess three basic points there I made I'll make some more of these and feel free to leave your uh your experiences in the chat you know what kind of writer are you what kind of times of the day do you do a lot of prewriting do you tend to rely more on the backend of revision do you edit as you write or do you need to get the whole draft out you know let me know those things and then let tell other people it's a good little community area to find out what works for others as well so that's all for now getting a bit dark I'm losing light anyway but do check out my own campaign tales from the stacks I just made some really cool announcements about that successful in demand on IndieGoGo and that's going to be fulfilled this fall so check out that stream as well I'll place the link up in the top right hand corner giving the announcements and until next time keep enjoying and digging deeper into the heroes stories you love thanks for watching

23 thoughts on “What Type of Writer are You?

  1. I like to write by throwing it on the page with the just the basic idea of it. I find it hard trying to keep things from an outline to my draft be it the type of characters or places when I put it down on a page

  2. Good topic, Prof! I definitely concur that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for anyone who wants to write. Myself, I'm most assuredly in the "pre-write" camp, tending to labor long and intensely over the long-game of whatever project that occupies me at the moment. However, I do think that what TYPE of project one is working on may have specific approaches that are more beneficial than others for said project. For example: indulge me while I try to briefly describe my favorite author's set-up — Walter B. Gibson, aka "Maxwell Grant," primary creator and author of The Shadow. After some early trial and error, working for a semi-monthly publication for a decade or so necessitated that Gibson take copious notes during brainstorming sessions with his editor and the company's general manager. From these notes came a formal outline, approved by the editor. Following this, Gibson might rack his brain for 3 or 4days over a detailed synopsis, which he maintained saved him endless headaches when actually writing the full story — on average a 60,000-word pulp "novel" — which he would usually knock-out in another 4 or 5 days — in first-draft prose that rarely needed revision because A) tightness of plot, and B) demands of semi-monthly publication deadlines.

    Granted, Mr. Gibson was an experienced professional newspaperman and non-fiction author prior to this, which gave him invaluable experience in the knack of quick composition (which he did on the typewriter), thus, he was working for the steady paycheck that the Depression made vital, but…
    I guess that was a long-winded way of saying that the genre one is working in might dictate the method. In Gibson's case, hammering out the intricate plot details of a detective/mystery story meant that it needed all those pre-writing tools that other genres that can be more free-form don't require.

    Thanks for your time!

  3. I made up.this story in my mind some 6 years before committing anything to paper. As a fan of Babylon 5 I had bought the screenplays of jms, And I said to myself "I could do that". Right or wrong, I ended up completing the screenplay, to my astonishment since I had never been able to complete more than short novellas until that point. And I decided "why not turn it into a novel ? So I turned the screenplay in English into a small (50k words) novel in French (I am French). I ended this too! And THEN I decided to translate the French novel in English. And I also finished it. I don't do any outline or pre-writing. I just need to know the beginning and the ending. The fun to me is in the discovery of what is between those two points. I seem to be able to develop only one project at one given time, and they're achieved in far-between bursts of creativity followed by long periods of not writing at all. I have a hard time finding a right time to write in a day. I'm still trying to figure out that part. I put my ebooks on Amazon and since 2013 I earned probably around 30$ but that's not that important in regards to the pleasure I have in writing. It's probably crap but it's MY crap! 🙂

  4. I outline but the story changes as I write it. I have loads of notes, but the end result differs a bunch.

  5. I am on my 3rd revision of the novel I am writing. You weren't kidding when you said that you will have to go back and do a ton of revision.

  6. "Night time is when I come alive…" is that your pick up line bro? lol A lot of those points apply to music and lyricism as well. Great vid as usual Prof!

  7. Can you do a video on beginnings Prof? For me, that's the hardest part for me.

  8. well I'm the kind of writer that likes to have a clear idea of what kind of story i would like to write and what kind of mood i like to convey, do the necessary research and pre-writing and then simply jump into the writing at a steady pace allowing myself to improvise if an even better idea comes to mind from my initial preconception. p.s i'm definitely not the detail oriented kind of writer because then I'll start to feel like i'm missing the point or main idea.

  9. I like to compare my writing to paleo artists. That's making art of prehistoric animals and people. There are bones, the obvious building blocks and foundation but the flesh and blood is all in the mind and hasn't been put down yet. I know point A and B, where my characters end up, but it isn't mapped out and new ideas assault me as I get them to point B

  10. I made an outline because everyone said I had too. As soon as I started writing the actual story, that outline became obsolete. Once I put my characters and settings in place I was flooded with new, better ideas. I don't really use that outline anymore, lol😂

  11. I lean more on the pre-writing side of things. I focus on creating the cast and the plot-points/ twists, writing out the backstory when all of that is done, then writing out a rough map of where things are going (however, the map is just vague enough for me to have to come up with solutions/ obstacles once I get there, sometimes even diverting from the original plan slightly).

    Unlike you, I can't use the pre-writing as my daily writing. Something in my subconscious refuses to accept it, so I actually have to write my bare minimum (1,000 words) every day in order to make sure I'm actually moving forward, one step at a time (the exception being 1 day a week where I don't have to). Because of this, I rarely have a chance to go back and edit until after it's all done (Whenever I see a problem in the story, I just jot down a note at the end of the document reminding me to adjust it when it's all over).

    Personally, I do kind of get up early to write. Specifically, at 8;00 or 9:00. Then write 2 hours after (as I like to rest and entertain myself a bit before beginning the task). I find taking care of the writing as early as possible makes it so that you don't have to worry about it for the rest of the day.

  12. I spend way too much time thinking about stories and researching things. Plus I have like 12 stories going at the same time. Then I am also trying to make two video games. One story is science fiction and I spend a lot of time just on the science part cuz I am not good with that math or science, but I want it to feel real to a degree. I tend to work the best once the sun is down for some reason. The sun just drains my creativity.

  13. You are saying a lot of things I agree with that I have learned over time. Making outlines does kind of kill my desire to write because part of the fun of writing is discovering things along the way. If you try to stick to your outline when the characters are leading you in a different direction you're going to ruin your story, but then again I have like 30 unfinished stories because I didn't outline.

    I'm also very much a night writer. 12am-3am when I'm super tired and barely lucid is where I've done a lot of my best work to where I re-read it and I don't even remember writing it. It's crazy.

  14. I'm more of a thinking variety but also I started but I'm not sure I'm good enough and I'm always trying to make it better but I never write it down

  15. I can write in a notebook, but personally, I prefer working in a word processor of some sort. Don't care about any of the moving around text part. I just prefer typing.

    All the pre-writing stuff and writing process stuff beyond that really depends on the project and what I'm doing. Most times I can flow off the top of my head and work everything out as I go if I have a point towards which I'm going in the short term, but if it's a larger plot thing I find it better to plan it out at least from chapter to chapter.

    All of my comic stuff has some sort of pre-writing to it due to comics needing to be paced within a specific page count. So my comic pre-writing ends up being a prose version, a break down version, and then a full script version… or a break down then full script. This largely because comic have a page count that you have to work within to get the best effect. And, in fact, I think one of the major call outs of whether someone is likely a good writer or not is if they call out a weird page number, because it means they've probably put no thought into the pacing of the story which means you're probably going to get at best disappointing rendition of whatever they're doing, not because the scene to scene or scenes in general are bad, but because the build ups and pay offs aren't adequate.

  16. My process can best be described as iterative. Ideas come in fits and spurts, so weirdly that's how I write. I outline, but I write while I outline. I'll build out parts of story, backstory, all that stuff and I'll keep doing it as I see holes in the structure. Like when I'm doing a comic I'll have a rough outline that will list out the things that are going to happen and how many pages it will take to do each part, then I'll shape that until it fits and makes sense. Then I plan out what will happen on each page. Then I write out the dialogue for the scenes. Then I break it into x number of panels, then I write out the panels. Finally, I format it into a script and as I'm doing that it give me a final editing phase. So… iterative? Insane? You be the judge. Basically my "first drafts" are about as organized as a ransom note cut out of magazines, and slowly I make it fit for human consumption.

  17. Thanks Professor! Cannot work with outlines. Honestly I have trouble with even to-do lists. Nighttime is where I thrive, but afternoon works. But i do have a weird prewriting stage and i am wondering if anyone else does it- not always, but if a charecter is giving me trouble, i write fanfiction with a friend of mine. We take one of my charecters, drop them off in a world we know well (hence the fanfiction) and see what happens. It has a way of solidifying backstory, personality and details that sometimes are hard to nail down when you are making everything of whole cloth. Also, great way to keep in touch with a freind who is out of state. Then i take them (the charecter) back out with whatever they grew that i liked, and put them back where they belong, a good deal more solid. If its the setting, we borrow a charecter and drop him in one of my worlds. Does anyone else do this? Sometimes it feels childish, but its good fun, and has a way of clarifying matters.

  18. I used to plot stories out, but that was frowned on in the writing program I attended.

  19. I am definitely an outline type… Though it is hard for me to focus on the substance for some reason… I have the idea of tje beggining and the end, but the in-between just… Escapes me… I somehow feel a little better after these advices professor… Its refreshing hearing them…

  20. I do some prewriting, especially my main characters and keep my outline basic with room to branch out. I also created a pizza menu for my recent piece because in the beginning I knew I wanted one of my main characters to work at a pizzeria, which resulted in adding more characters related to the pizzeria because it was a big part of his character. As I continue writing the story, I add to my notes because I either get new ideas or aren't happy with something be it an underdeveloped character or a scene. I do throw ideas at other people for feed back, speaking of which how does bacon cheeseburger pizza (sourdough crust with seame seeds, ranch dressing sauce, pieces of hamburger and bacon, fresh chopped lettuce and tomato with chedder/american/ colby shredded cheese) sound?

  21. My writing process involves a lot of theorizing and thinking. I try and come up with formulas for character writing and I'm also relatively new to writing so I discover simple concepts like foiling by just thinking about the writing process in general. A tool box approach to pre writing where everything is on the table and nothing is too out there, maybe it's more like Pandora's box :D. But what made me want to be a writer the most was my depression and disillusion with a lot of what's on tv or books in general. I always get angry and upset that I wasted my time. I liken my depression with bad story telling in a way. If I don't like what I see then how can it be interesting? Except I take the concept to it's logical conclusion in action and writing rather than leaving behind this rhetorical question about how life and everything sucks.

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