The writing process…
These are things I’ve not spent a lot of time thinking about until recently, when the question was posed on a Facebook writing group I frequent, Indie Writers Unite! What is your process? Where do you write? What helps you write better, more, faster? How do you find time to write? How do you do it and deal with the rest of your life? These questions come up from time to time there and in other forums across the net.
I’ve always just written, without much thought to procedures. My writing space is in my kitchen, at the kitchen desk tucked in the corner by the fireplace. Two kids are constantly coming in and out, aiming for the fridge, or bringing in the dirty dishes from the TV room (after they’ve been nagged) and frequent friends come over, walking through or sitting down and having a conversation at the table. None of this bothers me too much, not as much as sitting in an office type room behind a more traditional desk would bother me (and this is just me, not anyone else who might have an office and a desk.) I don’t ever want writing to feel like work, so I’m happy to be in the thick of things.
Anyway, being interrupted out of a train of thought can be beneficial. The constant coming and going requires that I put a thought on hold and then go back to it, a skill I had to develop to get any writing done when my kids were younger when they only needed momentary help. Thinking about that thought is now part of my editing process. Is this line of thinking really going to take me where I want it to, or do I need to switch to a different line of reasoning. I’ve honed this walking/thinking skill to such a degree I can do the mundane tasks – help me find the scissors! Where’s the TV remote? I can’t find this, that or the other thing! – that I’m rarely completely removed from the story and can thus get right back to it after the real life task has been dealt with.
Then, of course, there was the time my son was out on the back porch involved in a foam cutting project that involved the use of a box cutter. I was editing at the time, a somewhat bloody scene from my book, Chosen, when in walks my son with real blood streaming down his hand! My book character didn’t have anyone to help him through his ordeal, but being in the kitchen made me immediately available to take care of what turned out to be a decent puncture wound. Life/Art imitation. I’m keeping my writing space where I can still be creative and be part of the daily chaos kids bring to our lives.
Time too is something I’ve always devoted to writing, even if it meant sitting up into the small hours of the day when the family was all asleep. Never had much difficulty making sure I wrote every day and that discipline has stayed with me. Some people look at me like I’m an alien being from another world when I tell them I can produce over 2000 words a day, and that’s on an especially chaotic day. Usually, it’s much more than that. I only recently discovered just how many words I was cranking out when I had to write a paper for my Masters of Education degree I’m in with 3 courses that require a MASSIVE amount of writing. Daily. So my well-established writing habits are helping me deal with the workload, and I’m still able to write creatively.
Space, time and desire are the three elements any writer has to have to be successful. The space can be anywhere. Time you carve out of the day however you can carve it out. Do you really need 30 minutes to eat? Use part of your lunch break to put words to paper, or into your phone, or onto that shiny new tablet you want to buy and now you have a reason to! While the chicken is sautéing in that delicious sauce you just made, sit down and write. The desire to do this crazy thing is already there. Honestly, the world needs more writers who can string together a few sentences that convey a coherent thought. You might be surprised how many people simply can’t do it. My Masters class is teaching me that too. But you – you want to write! You’ve always wanted to write, and you’ve been writing ever since you can remember, so you have a better grasp on it than most. Now get out there and create!