HighlyIllogicalBehavior-BlogTourGuest post #1: How was writing this book similar, different, more challenging, or less challenging than your previous books? Do you have a specific writing process or schedule, or do you write when the mood strikes?

Every book feels completely different for me. And I think that’s true because I try to approach every new project with the same fear and excitement that pushed me into writing my debut, Where Things Come Back, nearly a decade ago. I’m not an outliner, at least not when I begin a story, so a lot of the early part of my writing process is about experimenting with the broader ideas that I want to explore through my writing and then centering it on whatever strange-but-maybe-it’ll-work story that comes out of that. It sounds complicated — and it is — but I have a brilliant editor to help me decipher my own writing, and we actively discuss, throughout the entire writing process, where the underlying meanings lie and how best I can explore those into the story to serve that overall broader idea.

I could argue that writing Highly Illogical Behavior was more challenging than writing my previous two books, but they all feel so separate to me, and each one is placed at such different moments in my life, that saying so wouldn’t mean much. I can say, however, that the new challenge of writing about mental illness, specifically, something that personally touches the lives of so many readers, definitely raised the stakes in regards to the obligation I felt to tell that story in just the right way. It was important to tell an individual story of mental illness because that’s what they all are and that’s what we so frequently forget when we talk about it in everyday life.

In regards to my writing process and the technical details of it — you probably won’t be surprised to learn that I don’t have much of a routine or a finite process at all. I’ve tried everything — treating writing like a work day, setting daily word count goals, writing a chapter a day — you name it. Some of them worked. Some didn’t. Some worked more than once even, but what I’ve learned most about myself as a writer is that I’m still constantly evolving and trying to figure out exactly how I want to approach my ideas. So, that doesn’t always lend itself easily to any set of rules or practices as far as how I actually go about writing my books — because I always end up writing them the only way I know how, which is without knowing what I’m doing until I can’t stop doing it. Poetic, right? But, hey, if it works it works.



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