One of my Crimson Romance sisters just turned me on to a quote from W. Somerset Maugham. He said “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” Truer words were never spoken.
At the latest national conference for Romance Writers, I wandered through workshop after workshop. It struck me that everyone had a slightly different way of getting to the end goal—a published novel. And each of these intelligent speakers was convinced their way was the right one. In one workshop I was told to make sure each of the five senses were contained in every scene. In the very next one, I was told not to put all five senses into one scene because it would cause sensory overload. Who can tell what’s right and what’s not? Why is the rulebook so confusing?
I read an interview where a man gave ten tips to improve your writing. One tip he mentioned was to play music while working, since the rhythms of the music would translate to rhythm on the page, smoothing out your writing. It sounds logical, but it doesn’t apply to everyone.
I like to have complete silence while I’m working, in order to better hear that voice in my head. I find music to be a distraction, preventing me from going deep into my characters. I get swept away by the beat of the song and find myself tapping my feet rather than tapping the keys on my laptop. Silence works best for me. The big take-away from all these mixed messages is that there is no right or wrong way to write. You have to find the path that works best for you. Morning writer, late-into-the-night writer, music, silence. Whatever gets you to the end of your novel is your right way.