It's official: you can write however you darn well please.

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By Alissa Johnson

You might be able to relate to this story. I met a friend for coffee and the conversation turned to writing (as you can imagine, this happens a lot). She was in a tough spot: she wanted to write but didn't know what to write.

Now, this friend has already published two books, but when she started a third, she stalled out. The magic wasn't there, and she's gone quite a while without writing. Now she had to decide, if she didn't write that third book, what should she write?

At first I got the impression that she no longer resonated with that third book idea. But as we talked, I realized that she still liked it; she had just fallen out of love with the process.

You see, in writing that third book, she tried to do things differently. She decided that a certain plot element was off limits—namely, the mystical or supernatural—only to have the story go that way. At the same time, she plotted the book before she wrote and used one of those fancy computer programs that help you write. 

Yet here's what I know about said friend:. 

  • As a yogi and Yoga Nidra guide, she naturally has a tendency to delve into the mystical 
  • She wrote her first two books by discovering the story as she went, not plotting it out ahead of time
  • And she didn't use one of those fancy programs

While those approaches work for some writers, they didn't work for her.

And to me, the solution was clear. Let the story be supernatural (as it seemed to want to be) and use whatever process worked before. 

All too often, as writers we hold our processes up to whatever we think a "real" writer would do. Then we aspire to a process that may or may not work for us.

It's important to remember that all any writer can do is do what works for him or her.

So if you're trying to do things the "right" way and it's not working, consider this your permission to do it your way. 

In other words? You can write however you darn well please! And with that in mind, I'm curious: what's one thing you think you should do but just doesn't work for you? Let me know in the comments or join the conversation on the Facebook page, and we'll let go of trying to adopt these habits together.

P.S. Interested in learning the #1 way writers make things harder than they need to be - and how to end the struggle? I have a three-part series you aren't going to want to miss! Join here.