So, Amanda of The Lady Okie has asked me to participate in a blog chain of writing questions (click the link to read her responses!). You may have noticed that I enjoy talking about writing around here, so I took her up on it! These questions are working there way through the blogoshpere, one blog at a time. Will you be next? You can be. I welcome all of you to write about your writing process by answering these questions. And if you do, be sure to let me know about it so I can read it! I can’t really get enough of writers talking about writing.
This blog, mostly, as well as a novel. In between those two things, I enjoy writing short stories and the occasional poem. Above all those things, I am working on not letting my perfectionist tendencies stunt my productivity.
Well, first I’d need to figure out what genre my blog falls into. I guess broadly, “lifestyle”. However, I don’t write about my life so much, as my inner life. Haha. So perhaps, an “inner-lifestyle blog”? And if that is the case, I just coined that term, so my blog stands out quite a bit in that genre.
In the words of Flannery O’Connor: “I write to discover what I know”. That sums it up best for me. I write mostly about thoughts that won’t leave me alone, and I try to find the truth in them. Writing is processing your thoughts, and many of my thoughts are buried deep. Writing so frequently helps me hash out vague ideas until they become sharp and concise. Sometimes, a particular thought can take years to say the correct way. But when it happens, it is a satisfying feeling.
In a nutshell, it looks like anxiety personified: I sit down and bang my head on the table (figuratively) a few times until I decide instagram has to be checked before any real work can get done. Then I give myself a pep talk about why I should be writing. Then I write a couple of sentences and am convinced I will never write anything good ever again. I think about all the great writers who would laugh at my attempts. Then I calm down long enough to write one sentence that hooks me. It makes me think of something else to write about, and I stick with it for a little while longer. Then, I decide I love writing more than anything in the world and never want to do anything else.
But this is the fancier answer:
Everything I write goes through approximately 4 million drafts. When I sit down to write a blog post, I write like a fiend so as not to lose any of my ideas. When I think I have everything out, I start to edit. Depending on how drained my brain is at that point, I will give it a quick run-through and cut out what sounds bad or repetitive. I do that a few times. I cut a lot. If it does not offer something to the greater good of the topic, it goes. It kind of becomes a logic puzzle, which is fun and addicting (more on Sudoku to come…)!
I rarely ever write a blog post in one sitting that is ready to publish. It happens sometimes, but most of my posts sit in my drafts for a few days until I feel that I have gotten them down to as few words as possible. When I can’t cut anything else out, or add anything else in, then it is ready to go.
The great majority of my fiction writing is short stories. I write short stories in a similar way to blog posts. For the novel I am working on, well, the process is a lot different and I still have not quite figured it out. Writing something as lengthy as a novel means I cannot use my go-to writing process. Solving problems on a smaller scale (with blog posts and short stories), means the way you write is going to be manageable and tidy. Novel-writing takes a different part of the brain–a part that is not as natural for me. It requires stepping back and looking at the big picture, NOT editing every time you sit down to work on it, and accepting that you won’t be able to keep track of it all at all times. It’s a real challenge for the perfectionist in me, but it is rewarding, and a great experiment in stretching myself.
If you saw my first drafts, you’d wonder how in the world they ever turned into anything worth reading. Truly.
And that’s it! If you don’t want to write an entire post answering these questions, tell me about your writing process in the comments below. I would love to know!
P.S. Some of the best writing advice you can get.