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This Morning’s Dance: The Writing Process

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Everyone has a different writing process. Mine varies, but lately, I’ve developed something of a routine.

Melting snow (Photo credit: Neneonline)

Sometimes I use haikus to shake the debris from my brain and get it working.

It’s a melty day
The rain freshens my garden
Snow in the shadows

Actually, I use haikus a lot to shake the debris from my brain. And usually publish them on my Twitter feed. Which you should follow. Really.

After the morning haiku, I work on my daily dance (today’s dance, this morning’s dance), unless I was ahead of the game and finished it the night before. Which is rarely. So. Most mornings from roughly six to seven am I’m on the couch, drinking coffee and pounding out between 300 and 1000 words including a set of questions to stimulate thought and conversation. I rarely do a second draft, but as I transfer my writing to WordPress from Open Office, I usually give it a once over and edit for clarity.

Once the post is up, on weekdays I go to work, and on weekends I get ‘stuff done’, unless I don’t, in which case I’m still on that couch, or my easy chair, writing and reading and surfing the net.

I spend some time every day thinking about one of the two novels I’m working on (one a book about the effects of war on people at home, the other a bit of Austenalia about George and Lydia Wickham) or I do some outlining for the non-fiction I’m working on (one book that defines and helps people build happiness, the other a coping skills book). Sometimes I actually write something on one of those long form pieces. (ADHD, look at me!)

I use the snowflake method to help me stay on task on novel writing, and a version of it of my own design for non-fiction. But mostly, I think about writing long form. It requires a time commitment I rarely have.

So as I’m going about my days, I find ideas in corners and under seat cushions and covered in dust under the bed, and I brush them off and give them a good shine, do whatever research I need to do, and write them out. Sometimes I scrap them a paragraph or two in, but usually I can get a decent post out of them, somewhere (again) in the neighborhood of 300 to 1400 words, which seems to be my ‘natural’ idea length.

I write for a market (that’s you) of intelligent, curious people, mostly left of center, mostly interested in ways to make their own lives and the world a bit better while being entertained. I strive for honesty, compassion, a bit of fiery outrage now and again, fun, and ‘something useful’ to people. That gives me a huge dance floor to work on.

I wasn’t born knowing how to pound out one or two short to medium length articles a day. I wasn’t even born knowing how to write a haiku. It took practice, lots of it, day after day and year after year, which is why I’m determined to conquer ‘long form’ writing, because I know I can.

I utilize sets of work/rest periods when I have to balance my obligations. Depending on the circumstances, they can be 20/10 (work minutes/rest minutes) 45/15, or some completely different number. When I rest, I rest completely, or play, and feel that it enhances my creativity and drive.

Today’s dance explores how you approach the creative process in writing, no matter the writing form:

  • Do you write (something) on a (nearly) daily basis for business or pleasure? If so, what?
  • What forms of writing do you most frequently engage in?
  • How would you characterize your writing skills in these areas? Where are you ‘good’? What could you stand to improve?
  • How do your time management skills impact your writing? Your organizational skills? Your research skills?
  • Do you have a regular routine, do you rely on inspiration, or is it a combination?
  • What form of writing would you most like to be better at? Why? What have you done to attempt to improve your writing?
  • What motivates your writing? Creativity? Necessity? Something else?
  • Do you keep a journal? How does that relate (if at all) to writing for other reasons?
  • What form of writing continually frustrates you and or challenges you? What form of writing is simply pure joy for you?
  • What routines do you have around your writing? Do you have writing music? Writing food? A writing place? A candle or other scent? Do you write with others around, or in privacy?
  • Does your writing get in the way of other things in your life? Do other things in your life get in the way of your writing?

As always, this is to spark thought and conversation, and you are invited to share widely with friends and family. See you later today with (blush) a political post in honor of women.

  • Making Your Writing Process More Efficient: A Guest Post by Author Anna Staniszewski (readatouille.blogspot.com)
  • Bet You Didn’t Know! (ariannasrandomthoughts.com)
  • Why writing in a notebook still matters (criticalmargins.com)
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