I’ve taken too long of a break from blogging. Because of this, I am trying to develop my writing process and routine again.
In my last post, I mentioned that I have started school again, while running my own business and working part time. It has been so challenging. It has completely pulled me out of my writing routine. It has been extremely hard to find or make time for my own writing, and it feels like I’ve had a limb amputated or something. Writing has always been my passion. Putting words on the page, or on the word processor as it were. Word processor. That is who I am. Someone who takes abstract ideas and processes them into words. Not being able to do it as much has been tough.
But, it’s called prioritizing! School and paying rent have been at the forefront of my mind. Who can blame me?
All that said, I am trying to put my finger on how I write.
It starts with an idea. Not necessarily an idea for a fictional story, or an idea that has come out of nowhere. Often, I will read something, hear something on the radio or on TV, have an interesting conversation with others, and suddenly, feel like I want to put that experience, or those thoughts, into my own words. It’s a drive to get my fingers moving across a keyboard or my pen across paper.
If I’m writing a blog post, or an essay for school, I sit down to organize my thoughts. I make an outline, and I will do research on the subject if it is something requiring research. I organize a list of links to websites or scholarly journals. In a document I usually title something along the lines of “notes for such and such project,” I may copy a paragraph from a book that I want to cite, so that I can copy and paste it into my word processor when I’m ready. I don’t normally follow a strict outline format. I make sure that every section I want to include is there, and that they flow logically into one another from the beginning to end.
Then I write. The only way to be a writer, or to meet a deadline, is to sit down and do the thing. It is the hardest part of the process. One can have so many great ideas, so many interesting things to say, but until those words are on the page, they mean nothing.
I am often hard on myself. Instead of just getting the words on the page and knowing I can edit later, I want to put something down that is going to be perfect right away. But, that is not how the writing process works. You have to give yourself time to edit – even if it’s just a few minutes before clicking “post” on your blog. In the case of an essay for school, I will often read it out loud to myself or someone else to make sure it makes sense. I have been given advice to read it backwards from the end, paragraph by paragraph, to see if everything flows the way it should, but I honestly have not tried this yet. If you have, let me know how it works for you! I’m intrigued.
Once I feel that I am satisfied, or have gotten a go-ahead from someone such as a manager or supervisor, or even professor, then I submit my work. But, I always remind myself that every piece you write is not finished. There is always more room for growth, more room for potential, more directions you can take a piece. Maybe your piece will turn into a series. Maybe a short story will become a novel. Maybe a blog post can be updated later if new information has arisen that is relevant. Nothing is truly every finished, no matter how polished it looks. That’s one thing I like about writing. It reminds us that even though the words on the page seem static and unchanging, they really are not and do not have to be.
What is your writing process? Do you have different system? Are you still developing yours? Do you use things like post-it notes, or a computer program (such as novel writing software), or record voice memos that you use later? Please let me know in the comments!