Sunday, April 12, 2015

trust the process

If you write long enough and hard enough your own personal writing process eventually emerges. You learn what works for you.

I'm an early bird; you may be a night owl. I'm a "pantser"; you may be a planner. I guzzle coffee; you may prefer to sip an herbal tea when you write.

I tend to coddle my "babies," those precious little bundles of lyrical prose that make my muse swoon with envy; you may be the type who runs them off the page without an afterthought. If that's the case, I may need your help...your brutal, never-look-back-because-you-can-do-better perspective on how to revise.

This week I need to create new content to replace a nicely written piece that (I hate to admit...) has nothing to do with the premise of the chapter I'm working on. I have to go from something about faith in the workings of the universe to a discourse on humility.

For me, this process involves:
  • An epiphany: the first stirrings of unease, the earliest inkling that something doesn't fit, like a tiny pebble in your shoe that isn't painful enough to slow you down, but gets to be as annoying as hell after a while.
  • Procrastinating: tweaking a word here and there so it feels a little like revising even though it doesn't change a thing, or moving on with the intention of coming back to it when you're in a better frame of mind, or excusing yourself for a couple of years because something important has come up. Let's say you've run out of clean underwear, or the leaves want to be raked, or you're afraid those shoes you love so much will sell out before you can get to the store.
  • Surrendering: conceding that what you've written ain't gonna work, and solemnly promising to set things right.
  • Deleting: not simply highlighting text and hitting the delete button, but in the gentlest way possible convincing the wayward child it is time to go. You have better things in mind for it, lots of fun and a brighter future. You promise to save it someplace where it will be safe and happy until you can get back to it. There is nothing cruel or brutal about it.

  • Waiting: also known as pacing, fretting, and cursing until the next great thought pops into your head. This can sometimes involve long walks, sleepless nights, and solitary meals. It can lead to over-indulgence...too much coffee or good red wine. To insecurity. To suicide, or pretty darn close.
Image result for coffee and red wine
  • Beginning again: at the first spark of inspiration, the faintest blush of optimism, the earliest glimmer of hope.  

This is my process and I'm sticking with it. What works for you?
"Hold the vision.
Trust the process."
~author unknown~

1 comment:

  1. Your process sounds very much like mine. My last four books I started over again.