My Writing Process

A long time ago, I was tagged by author Alicia A. Willis to participate in the My Writing Process Blog Tour. This post has been in the draft pile since then, and I stumbled over it today. A little editing later, and . . . voila!

What am I working on?

A sketch can help to solidify important elements of a story. Here I was playing with Victorian ideas.

I am currently penning a young adult historical novel set in 1840s England. The Victorian era is such a rich slice of history, and having gathered inspiration from visits to country estates, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to write about this era.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

The Baker Family Adventures are contemporary children’s fiction. I made a point of creating “clean” though thrilling stories that Christian parents would feel safe letting their children read, and excluded elements such as fantasy, romance, and gore.

My current work-in-progress is my first serious foray into the historical genre, but I have noticed many such novels have their one and only focus on romance. I aim to write a thought-provoking book with a lot of meaning and a greater goal than the fairytale “happily ever after.”
Why do I write what I write?
I write because I believe this is something that the Lord has given me the ability, time, and inclination to do, and that it’s the way He wants me to serve others. Sometimes I get distracted for a time, stop writing, and get into a quandary of trying to figure out what to do. That’s when I cry out, “Lord, how can I glorify You?” The answer comes, as fresh as if I’d never considered it before.


And then I wonder why I ever lost sight of that.

How does my writing process work?

This was the question I was looking forward to. 🙂 In person, I like to be flexible and relaxed, and will generally go with whatever others want to do. My writing time, however, has to have a few concrete structures or I can’t progress.

1.) I write best in an empty room, and struggle to concentrate when others are around. This is unusual, since I’m not an easily distractible type. But writing is an expressive art form, and I want to be able to frown at or laugh with my characters without being asked if I’m okay.

2.) Less than a year ago, listening to music was a definite no-no. This was sad, but often the mood didn’t match my writing AND my orchestral roots pinned my attention on the performance. I ended up tuning out the music, and when that failed, turning it off.

After a lot of persistence and careful music choices, I am thrilled to say that I now love listening while writing! Soundtracks are often a great go-to tool when emotions need to be mustered. My (ridiculous-looking) fluffy earmuff-headphones are a treat to snuggle into on a chilly day, and their sound quality is good.

If you’re one of those people who can’t focus without silence and wish you could, don’t despair! Slow, persistent acclimatisation might do the trick.

3.) I always have a glass of water and a mug of something hot beside me. (My favourite mug cracked from overuse 😦 ) Tea and coffee alternate throughout the day, and a few treats to nibble on never go amiss.

4.) If the story brings me to a topic I don’t know about, I stop and research. Even if I know 99% of my discoveries won’t get to the page, I can’t move on with something unresolved in my mind.

That’s my writing life in a nutshell! I do hope you enjoyed the glimpse into the process by which words come onto the pages. How about your writing process? Drop a comment; I’d love to hear from you!

13 thoughts on “My Writing Process

  1. Caitlin,

    I just wanted to let you know how inspiring this post was for me! Writing fiction is a great love of mine. My brothers and I have read all five of The Baker Family Adventures, and we positively love them! I also turn to them for inspiration :). I hope there will be more of that series? I’m excited to read your future work…very excited!


    • Hi Eliza,
      I am so glad to hear that you have enjoyed the books!
      Yes; Lord willing, there will be a Baker adventure #6. It just wouldn’t be right to leave poor Mr. Jigson in the lurch 🙂 (The Victorian novel is something I’ve been working on in the background, and will continue to re-think and return to while doing other projects. Such a lot of work is needed in historical fiction!)
      Thank you so much for stopping by!

  2. Very interesting, Caitie! The drawing looks stunning, and definitely intriguing… I wish you all the best with your writing.

    I agree wholeheartedly with most of your points about the actual writing process. I don’t concentrate well when others are being noisy around – from college I had to learn to type in a classroom environment else assignments would never get done but I couldn’t vouch for the quality of material produced.
    Hmm, music. I’m still getting into that one! As you say, I do have a carefully-selected playlist with several different kinds of themes which are useful to get into a ‘mood’ but sometimes it just is downright distracting… maybe I need to listen to them more.
    And cup of something hot *and* a glass of water – I wish! Usually it’s good clean air for refreshment.

    Well, this is just my own experience from a haphazard writing schedule over each week.

    But a historical novel must be a challenge to research and develop? ‘Period’ stories discouraged me as I was always afraid of saying something that would have been historically incorrect. Like you I try to do as much background research as possible, even for my own trivia rather than the plot.

    All the best,

    • Thank you, Josh! Drawing was an enjoyable way to zone into the era.

      Yes; trying to write accurately for a specific time-period has been a challenge. Not only must the plot be compelling and make sense, it also needs to fit in with the limitations of technology and the social structures of 150+ years ago. There are many aspects to juggle. “Research” has been a fantastic excuse, however, to visit National Trust estates!

      Thanks for sharing your writing process. 🙂

  3. Hi! I love your books so much. My whole family does. Thank you for writing good, godly and clean books for all ages. 🙂

    IN Christ,

  4. I just only saw this post now! That was such an encouragement! Yes I work well with music on too. I am a classical person and Vivaldi’s e presto concertos are great to have on while working on an action chapter.
    That was a neat concept; to draw characters and things. You can draw really well! Are you still doing your victorian novel? My favourite genre is historical fiction and that looks really interesting! A weird quirk I have, I get most of my ideas late at night! If I can’t sleep, I lie awake and think up solutions to problems in my plots. I don’t know if anyone else does this?

  5. Oh how neat— I am in desperate want of knowledge…as exactly HOW to plan a novel (which can stand on its own but has series potential). I’ve done quite a bit of research…and I know that planning it out first is core.
    This glimpse is very very helpful!!! (choir singing)❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
    Does anyone else have any tips…?

    • Hi Callie! I just saw this. Hopefully it’s not too late to give some ideas about planning novels. 🙂
      Since I primarily write historical fiction, I usually start out with a premise (characters, setting, problem) and then work out the details, usually backword from the end to the start. The Story Embers website is extremely helpful and I highly recommend it!
      Hope this helps!

      • Oh my goodness— thank you so much, Isabelle!! And no, it’s not too late in the slightest 😉😊❤️❤️
        Thank you soo much for pointing me in the right direction and for your words of encouragement. I’ll definitely be headed in that way! 💕

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