Process is a strange thing. How we get things done…
Do you wake up in the morning and pour your coffee before you can even think of opening your eyes? Or are you one who needs to see the sun shine in your window at noon to know that it’s time to get moving on your day?
I’ve been slave to caffeine and the solar-powered alarm at various times in my life. I’ve even had runs of being able to wake up in the dark of wintry pre-dawn and be able to just get about my day without any prodding from beyond.
I’ve never been one for consistency in my day-to-day schedule or habits, unless one wishes to call my inconsistency my habit.
For writing, however, I am as close to being trapped in the process as any addict ever there was. After years of playing tag, of cajoling the words on the page, throwing away more than 90% of what I did manage to get down, I discovered that one thing made it easier. My process…
For me, everything starts with a notebook. It must be spiral bound; I’ve never found myself able to compose in a so-called “Composition Notebook“.
It involves black ink pens. My current favorites are Zebra brand 301(A and F) ball points. I’ve had horrid luck with gel pens, and almost always end up tossing them out barely used. A pity, because I love the colors.
The next part of the process moves my desktop computer where I will type in and expound on pretty much everything I wrote by hand. It’s a matter of keyboard-love here. The click of the keys, the shape and curve of them… even the non-ergonomic height at which it sits upon my old-fashioned desk all work together to make things feel right for creating that perfect Draft1.5.
Next thing I have to do is give our laser printer a workout. I can edit some on screen, but for the serious hacking and slashing involved in getting my WiPs in any sense of order, I need to hold papers in my hand and not be lured into any viable distractions such as solitaire or Facebook… or pictures from one of the Safe For Work Porn reddits.
Then, after much defacing of pages and many scrawled epitaphs later, I head off with my laptop to type in the changes (the exception here is if I have a lot of typing to do, as in new scenes or chapters, in which case I write those in another spiral notebook and type them in on my Desktop PC). I love my laptop, but I hate most any touch pad “mouse”, and the keyboard layout is, well, cramped. But its flaws actually allow me more time to focus on the changes I am making…
My laptop isn’t the end of the process–usually it’s just the beginning. The average cycle usually follows this pattern: Steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 4, 3, 1, 2, 1, 3, 4, 3, 4, and so on.
It works, for the most part.
Which, leads me to where I am in my ROW80 progress:
Things are actually going quite well. I’ve swum in my slush for a bit lately, trying to recover a sense of direction. And in doing so, I’ve found myself able to focus more and more of my attention on Release.
I’ve finished reading another book for my Goodreads Challenge. I’m glad I read the book, although I’m not delighted that dreams about the characters helped keep me up last night as my brain tried to “fan fiction” a happier ending fr the characters. I guess I’m a sucker for the “Happily Ever After”.
Strange that, since one of the things I’ve been working on carefully is “killing my darlings” in my editing periods. I know I probably have a long way to go, but I am working it. Tightening up my writing would be a good thing.
Anyway, I think I’ve made excellent progress since my last check-in. I could have written more new writing, but then I always could have. Life intervened, and I still got plenty done.
It was a good week.
Check out other ROW80 people here: at the linky
We have several habits in common. I love the colors of gel pens but can’t stand the way they write, and when I want to do a comprehensive edit, I print out the entire MS. I try to do at least two run throughs before I print though. I’m almost at that point with the current MS. Glad you’re making progress!
Thanks, and hope you’re now past that point (since I ended up not replying to this comment until so much later… mea culpa–I’m sorry about that) and your current MS is getting that red pen treatment they all seem to need before we share them with the world.
As for gel pens… I know some people who love them and refuse to use anything less. I don’t get it, but it’s neat that we have so many choices now. Imagine if we were still all struck with goose quills? 😀
I loved reading about your process. I’m still trying to refine mine. I especially love how you print out your work to edit it. That is such a great idea, I’m going to have to steal that from you! Keep up the good work!
*laughs* I’m still refining mine too. Things change in it by default. I used to compose and do a lot of writing on an older computer with Wordperfect 5.1 for DOS. I fought that change for years finding method after method to keep using some kind of DOS shell on the computer of the time (I’ve gone through several machines and several operating systems since I started writing)….just so I could use that outdated software. It worked for me.
I only switched when I started have trouble after trouble using it in Windows 7. Now I use Scrivener, but I do still miss that blue screen.
We’re writers… We’re supposed to be creatures of quirky habits. 😀
Sounds like you’re making steady headway and that’s more than me. I rarely write on paper anymore, but I think I should. I used to scribble away for hours when poetry was my only outlet. Now I think into the laptop, like soup into a saucepan. This is where the main cooking (sorting out scenes, swapping, deleting, copy and pasting). I can’t ‘cook’ on paper 😀 Plus, I loathe typing – well, I hate transcribing. The soup can be pretty yummy! X
Soup in a saucepan… I can get that. A good soup can be divine. I’m more of a buffet person though. I like to have lots of little dishes of various mixes of flavors. (Though I hate transcribing too–I just like the way it can work as a wonderful way to get in a first story edit. Saves some time in its own way.)
Thanks for visit, Shah. Hope you’re having more fun now that you’ve gotten a sense of process changes that you need. I think we all need them some time. And you definitely should do some writing long-hand for a bit. The scientists say it makes the brain work in different ways than typing (just as script text is different than manuscript). You may find new ideas flowing….
Eden, i nominated you for the Liebster Award. Please come by my blog Friday to collect. http://wp.me/p1A52g-nu
Well, thanks, Melanie. I’ll peek in before I post my Friday Flash.