My approach to my writing process is one of continual improvement.  I like to discover different techniques and then try them out, fine tuning them and seeing if they match my approach to writing.
A lot’s changed over the last 18 months in terms of process and I’m largely very happy with it and what it’s delivering.  I’ve possibly got a big process rework for how I approach editing on the horizon but I suspect that will slip into next year.  So for now, any changes are things that aid and support, rather than radically change the current process.
I’ve been trying to get better at collecting data on my writing.  It’s all so easy to jump into an article, blog post or chapter of a novel and forget to log it.  Analysis of writing data is a bit anal and no guarantee of quality but I’ve managed to draw some useful information out of it in the past, even when there have been big gaps.
Now I’ve moved I’m determined not to have gaps and made a conscious effort to log my writing sessions wherever I am.  As a result I’ve been looking for phone apps that act like a stopwatch and allow me to capture not only when I was writing and for how long, but also how many words I put down.
The Writing Journal App does exactly that.  I’ve been using it for a few weeks and have been very happy with it.  The version for a single project is free, with the ability to unlock unlimited projects via an in-app upgrade for a couple of quid.  I recommend it, even if only to support the developer for an excellent app.
The second process change is surrounding my chapter plans.  I’m a heavy plotter, with each chapter roughly sketched out before I start writing a single word of the novel.  But I do a second round of planning before commencing on a chapter where I sketch out the chapter a little more fully.
I do this just before writing the chapter so that not only am I collecting my thoughts about what I’m about to write and focusing my mind, but I’m also able to carry the flow of the previous chapter with me.  I like it; it works for me; it might not work for others.
However, I’ve found that sometimes my planning can have gaps, where there are elements of the scene I’ve not really thought out.  This results in tougher writes and slower progress.
So I’ve devised this thing I call 5by5.  I split the chapter into 5 major bulletin points.  These can be plot points, themes, dialogue, whatever.  It can sometimes be difficult to come up with the 5, but forcing me to think and come up with 5 seems to be where this process works.
Then under each of those five points, I have to come up with five sub-points.  Again they could be anything and the reason I go with five rather than a novel’s natural urge to split itself into threes (beginnings, middle and ends) is that finding those extra 2 bits seems to get me to address the gaps I’ve been having.
Case in point, I was writing a chapter a week ago that really was hard work and the result seemed like it was missing something.  I’d already written “rewrite, rewrite” in the notes to myself.  But rather than leave it for another time, I decided to apply the process to it.
The results were astounding.  Now it’s possible that by rewriting it, I had a clearer idea of this chapter’s particular problems and had insight how to get around them, but I’ve been doing 5by5 for a number of additional chapters and I’m finding the writing a lot easier as a result.
I’ll continue to play and fine tune as I write, as well as log my data.  It’s not like I don’t have a mountain of writing to do!