The Current Process
Last week, I mentioned that I’m remembering something all over again–sometimes, the writing process is whatever is working. Today, I want to talk a little more about that.
First, a picture of my writing space this morning, just because it makes me happy.
So…process. When I was freelancing from home and working part-time, I tried to fit writing time into most, if not all, my days. Frankly, as I shifted from working in my own office to showing up at someone else’s work space, that got harder to do. Remember the kids who the preschool/elementary teachers used to describe as maybe not so good at transition? Yeah. That would be me. It’s not that I don’t like transition; it’s that I like/need/want to take a lot of time over it. I don’t zoom well from one thing to another, which means I never zoomed well from the part-time work out and about to the writing work tucked in back at home. I would need a snack, a bit of reading time, some cuddling with the cat. Which all added up to minutes not writing, and all of a sudden the clock would have jumped forward to some other piece of life that needed to get done.
Nevertheless, I did write, i did make progress, I did get those picture books written and many-times revised. And I got started on this latest MG idea. So when I went back to work full-time, something I really wanted to do and felt ready to do–I was a bit worried/stressed about keeping the writing going. I started putting more pressure than I was happy with on getting to the computer in the evening after work–after a grocery store run, after a yoga class, after a catch-up with a friend.
You think I don’t do well with transition? Try me with self-pressure!
A while back, I read this post by Nathan Bransford, in which he says he doesn’t write every day, and I (okay, “you”) don’t have to either. I remember thinking at the time that, yes, that’s good, that’s nice to hear, but, really….I still need to TRY. And then, more recently, I was at a critique-group meeting, where my crit partners had just read the second set of two or three scenes I’d sent them, and one crit partner said, “I want you to be thinking about what your process is. Because whatever you’re doing is obviously working.”
Um…I was pretty much writing on weekends.
From Nathan’s post: “I’m not a morning person, so I can’t wake up early to write in the mornings. And after a long day’s work, I’m usually too mentally exhausted to write. So I get my writing done on weekends.”
Now I will admit that I am still not QUITE comfortable with the fact that I’m not touching my story every day. I still hear that little “should” voice every now and then telling me how much more I’ll be connected to the characters, to their problems, even if I only sit down for 30 minutes every night. I come to most weekends knowing that this is the writing time, this is when I’m going to/supposed to get those pages done, and that is its own version of self-pressure, right?
But it seems like, when I have that space and time, when I can relax into my morning, get a few things done, then open up the computer, check out where I was at the last session and where I think I am going next…the words come. And if the feedback from my critique partners, some of whom have been reading my writing for going on 18+ years, is any indication, they’re coming pretty well.
So, is this my process? For the past months, yes. For today, yes. Beyond that, I have pretty much given up trying to decide.
What’s working for you right now? Is it the same process you’ve always used, or have you (or life) changed things up recently? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Hey Becky. I love how your cirt group said, look at what you’re doing because it’s working – awesome! I think its a matter of Writer, Know Thyself. I remember that post from Bransford too and how much relief it gave me. Because the ‘write everyday’ edict did not work for me. I write ‘most’ days. But when I’m traveling for (paying) work, or wrapped up in some school/kid crisis – nope, writing is not getting done. Whenever I feel terrified that this means I’m becoming less of a writer, I remind myself that this is MY process. And it works for me. By nature, I’m not a slacker. And even if I’m not writing every day, I AM touching my story (with my mind!) every day. That is enough.
Alex, It was a great moment, because my first reply was, I have NO IDEA what I’m doing. Except that I kind of did. But I’d blocked it out as a possibility because it wasn’t what I was “supposed” to be doing. I think I worry, because, honestly, by nature I am kind of a slacker. Not out of laziness, but I just seem to need/take more time than others to recharge from life–and that recharge typically comes from curling up with a book to read. But I am finding that I have time to do that AND write on the weekends and get things done. So, yes. Enough. 🙂
I love your writing space, Becky. I used to think I could only write first thing in the morning. Since then have found out that pretty much any time before dinner works. After that–forget it. Not too many brain cells working. I’m on a cross-country trip with my husband right now. WISH i could write in the car. But headaches ensue. Anyway–Just grab the time when you can!
Oh, there are so many times I have wished I could write in the car. As a kid, I read all the time on long drives–but can’t do that or write anymore. Yes, the car-sick headache! But, yes, write when we can. 🙂
This is funny, because I have shifted to writing more of my original, first-draft stuff on weekends. During the week, I do other publishing-related stuff, or revisions, but I feel too mentally drained to try to create from scratch after a full day at the day job. Fortunately most of my weekends are 3-day weekends.
Jenn, this is interesting, because I am writing a first draft. Well, a second draft, but it’s all new–the first was one of those flowy outliney things that just got ideas down. I will be interested if I can do more revision, when I get there, during the week. And yay for mostly 3-day weekends!