15 July 2012

The Process of Writing

My cousin-- an expert librarian (she has a Masters, people!) with an insightful book review blog-- asked me a few questions about my writing process, inspiring me to answer them with a series of blogs (that and the message was getting WAY too long). I also love talking about myself.

Here are the questions:

  • Do you schedule time for yourself to write or just whenever you feel like it?
  • What inspires you?
  • Is writing a script like writing a novel or is it more formulaic?
  • Is it more difficult to write dialogue than narrative?
And so we begin with the Writing Process (question 1)...

Though I've been privately writing for several years, not to mention telling stories since I realized I had this great thing called an "imagination," I still feel like a complete noob. That's mostly due to the fact that I've never been hired to write professionally (any day now!) so I have no idea what such an experience would be like. 

The other side of feeling like it's still the first day of Writing School (if only such a place existed) is the inadequacy of realizing how little I know or-- to put it another way-- how much I still need to learn. One of the key ingredients to great writing that I'm figuring out is my writing process.  Do I work better during the day? night? morning? afternoon? Should I play music, if so what kind? Where should I write? How should I write a script? 

I certainly can't write immediately in the morning-- at least not before coffee. I also don't do well on a graveyard sleep schedule. For a while I would wake up at 2 or 3 in the afternoon and stay awake until 6am... okay, sometimes 9am. I never got anything done. I would love a desk workspace, but at the moment that's not possible. While I love music, if I listen to songs I know, the lyrics distract me from the story. All things I'm learning and learning to work around. While it's good to know what does and does not work, I want to be flexible rather than fussy if I can't have things my way all the time.

When I do try to create a schedule it lasts one day, maybe two if I'm really on the ball. Yet I respect and adhere to deadlines: every college writing assignment made it to the professor on time. Personally, I think the idea of turning the creative process into a 9 to 5 job is pointless: you can't schedule inspiration.  

I feel guilty about not having a writing schedule, but then I think about what the late Nora Ephron said about her own process:

"I don't have much of a routine. I go through periods where I work a great deal at all hours of the day whenever I am around a typewriter, and then I go through spells where I don't do anything. I just sort of have lunch-- all day. I never have been able to stick to a schedule. I work when there is something due or when I am really excited about a piece."

If Nora Ephron could live without a writing schedule, then perhaps there's hope for me yet.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah I'm so happy you're writing this series! And I'm so happy it's in blog form. Great idea for you to break it down this way.Maybe you don't need a schedule or a philosophy of how to write, so long as you're making it happen and finding the time to do it.