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Writing Process
November 3rd, 2014 by Coral

Alright, today’s thought is on the writing process. The process that gets you from raw inspiration to a finished, polished, published product. Now, just to be clear, I am NOT giving you a formula. That would be kind of a little bit idiotic.  Everyone is different, and processes vary accordingly.

The process for writing is something that must be discovered individually.  The first step, or the step that I am choosing to write about first, anyway, is finding your high energy points of the day.  These are different for everyone, some people are morning people (I know I’m not), and some people are night owls.  For me, I find I have better focus and creative juices during afternoon, late evenings, and, unfortunately, in the middle of the night.  I know other people that have the best window in early mornings, just before noon, and varying other times.  Once you’ve identified your writing peak times, it’s a good idea to plan on writing during those times.

The second step is environment. Your environment can have an incredible impact on your writing productivity, and you need to be aware of that. For some people, this might be the same all the time. For me, it depends on the day. Usually, I have the best luck sitting in my apartment living room, with my computer on the counter and music in the background.  Sometimes I don’t have the option of my usual spot, in which case I have other places. The library can be okay, but I do my best work with background noise, such as a movie or music. I’ve found a good place to go to get a peaceful, creative environment is a cemetery. There are trees, benches, and relatively few people normally.  Also, cemeteries can be helpful if you have trouble naming characters, so that’s a bonus.

Once you have your time and place set, the only thing left is to decide your actual writing process. How to get the words onto the paper/into the computer.  Depending on what you’re writing, your method may vary. My method varies from when I’m writing poems, to books, to short stories, so I expect it does for others, too.

When I’m working on stories, I like to write out character profiles, just to kind of get a feel as to who I’ll be working with. I don’t plan out every little thing that’s going to happen before I write, because sometimes you find characters take a different direction than you originally thought. Or, maybe, you just get a different idea that you like better, and so it changes. What I know before I start writing a story is who the characters are, relatively, what starts the plot, and basically the ending. I leave a lot up to the writing editing process.  Now, I know my process isn’t formulaic, and some people can’t write like that. Outlines are a good idea, especially when you have a word limit. For short stories where I have a word limit, I plot out very carefully what needs to happen to keep it concise and get rid of superfluous junk that I don’t need.

When I work on poems, I find it really difficult to start when I have only a topic. When someone says to me “write a poem about x,” I just can’t do it. I have to first find a concept. Something to build the words around, otherwise my poem is directionless and rambles. Those poems always end up meaningless and I toss them and never let another living soul lay eyes on them.  Writing a poem can be like a climbing vine plant, the plant can exist without the pole, or wall, or whatever it climbs, but it won’t look very pretty or really fulfill it’s purpose. The concept of the poem is what the vine climbs, giving structure to the thoughts.

After getting the thoughts written down, you need to take a step back. Don’t get too protective of the first draft, because it needs to be edited. Edit it several times, read it out loud, that is important. So important, in fact, that I’m going to say it again. Read your work out loud as part of the editing process! Especially if there is dialogue, read the dialogue out loud.

 

Well, hopefully this has been somewhat helpful to all of you. The writing process doesn’t have to be the same for everyone, but it needs to exist. There are some points that I’ve touched on, and I’ll go into more detail on tips for those subjects that didn’t get adequate discussion today, but that’ll have to wait.

 


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