A middle-aged writer sits at his desk in preparation for the experience, with pen in hand, a drink just out of reach, and classical music spinning on the record player in the opposite corner. The sound is set on low so as not to disturb the creative process. He will often turn it down even lower once he has gotten into the flow. This writer has a specific time to write as well. Always at 9 o’clock at night and 5 o’clock in the morning. He has tried to write at other times, to no avail. He has also tried typing his words on a word processor, but the words won’t come when he uses that modern technology. The typewriter in the corner mocks him, but he cannot use it either. Only pen on paper can satisfy his creative muse. Once everything is finally in place, he exhales and finally begins to write, looking at his pre-writing notes every once in awhile to keep him on task. He never deviates from the notes because he is very disciplined. He is a writer.
“Amazingly enough, you’d think with as prolific as I am on here, I would have no time to write anything that is unrelated to the blog, but you would be wrong.”
And he is NOT me. Not at all. That is probably the furthest from my own writing process as you can get and still call yourself a writer. I have never been like that, and I never will be. But that’s not to say people like that are wrong. Everyone is an individual, and if that works for some people, so be it. I myself don’t have a particular time when the muse strikes. In fact, sometimes it will hit me smack dab in the middle of the day when I’m doing about 10 different things, but I have to stop whatever I’m doing (unless I’m at work, then I put it on pause) and type in whatever has come to me. If I’m out and about, I just use my phone’s wordpress app (it’s a godsend), or if I’m at home I just type it either in Word or in the blog draft feature (also a godsend). If I don’t get those words out right away they will shift, and who knows what will come of it, if anything. I don’t freak, though, if the moment passes and I haven’t written down what has been dictated by my wild muse (I call her Elizabeth). It was meant to be. And I just wait for the next moment.
Amazingly enough, you’d think with as prolific I am on here, I would have no time to write anything that is unrelated to the blog, but you would be wrong. I often write snippets that never make their way to the blog, or poems that are just for me. And, of course, I have larger pieces as well that will eventually make their way into novel form, etc. I also have no pre-writing that I look at, or at least nothing I created primarily to work later into either a blog entry or something else. Instead, I tend to work and re-work on the piece itself, as if it were a rough draft. And sometimes I don’t re-work it at all, especially not on here. Usually the thoughts as they come into my head make their way to the blog unfiltered and fresh. It’s almost like a direct upload, from brain to fingers. And hit “Publish.”
“Sometimes the song will even affect what I write, or help to shape it some way, shape, or form. I call it artistic transference.”
Music is also directly involved in the process, but classical isn’t what I listen to while writing. Generally I’ll just put my iPod on shuffle and see what comes up. For example, as I type this, Phil Collins is singing “Domino,” with Genesis, from the 1985 album Invisible Touch (Yes, I know all of my songs, albums, and year the album was released, even though I have over 27,000 songs on my iPod). It’s a great song, but next up might be Ludacris, or Moby, or Alanis Morissette, or Brad Paisley. You just never know, and that’s what I love about it. Sometimes the song will even affect what I write, or help to shape it in some way, shape, or form. I call it artistic transference. I love when that happens.
The easiest genre for me to write is actually the short story. I love the form, the possibilities for creativity, and the idea of stepping outside of myself and inhabiting a different character, for even a short while. I usually write my short stories in first person and in present tense, too, so it makes the experience more immediate and real to me. I’ve experimented with other forms like third person, omniscient,. and past tense, but I tend to return to first person, present tense because of that feel. The second easiest is poetry, and I approach it in so many different ways. I love repetition, so many of my poems have repetition in them. I also love irony and personification, so they usually make their way in as well. Poetry is my outlet when I’m fighting with emotions, or when I’m approaching artwork, as an interpretation technique. The hardest thing for me to write is long form. It has been a labor of love and perseverance, every single time I’ve approached writing a novel-length piece. The only time it has been relatively easy for me was this past November when I wrote a novel for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I’m not normally so great with deadlines, but I hit and exceeded every single one I set for myself that month.
“Writing is the best way to talk without being interrupted.” -Jules Renard
I can’t remember the last thing I wrote freehand, by the way. My handwriting is pretty terrible (the curse of the English teacher), and it takes me much longer to write than it does to type, so I generally type everything. It saves time transferring writings to a word processor, though, and I’m taking time every day to copy over a lot of my early works that only exist on paper at the moment. I’ve also just discovered Office on my phone, so I can create Word documents and save them there too. Now, if I can figure out how to use the wireless printer that would be amazing as well. At the moment I have two drafts in process for this blog, and I have some good thoughts for both of them. And I’m also writing my first romance novel on my phone’s version of Word. It’s definitely a change from what I usually write (mystery). We’ll see how it turns out.
That’s my process. What’s yours?