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PWP Blog 12/18/19: The Writing Process

My writing varies widely. From purely comedic, satirical, streams of conscience, technical(ish), fiction, whatever. I've been asked several times about "the process" and how it changes with the topic and style at hand. I've never really been able to put my writing process into words. Never been able to explain it. I'll attempt to rectify that now.

Step 1 Ideas: I usually begin with a loose association of mental pictures, maybe a phrase or two that can be expounded upon. Some times a single word. Perhaps I've got a character description. Step 2 Liquor: Nothing helps the creative process like strong drink. Step 2.5 (optional and not often used) Outlining: Most find creating an outline helpful. All the writing manuals tell us that an outline is crucial to a quality final product. Unless the story is extra intricate, outlines are a waste of time. I prefer to start slow; writing a scene or two, exploring a couple conversations, and just kind of living in the world for a while. Writing things as they come. Organization comes later. Step 3 Writing Words: I write one or two words at a time. Step 4 Get up and do Something Else: I'll leave my desk to do something else, usually dealing with one or both of my kids. Step 5 Re-boarding the Train: Sit back down, read what I've written, and regain my train of thought. *Repeat steps 2, 3, 4, and 5 as often as necessary. Especially step 2. Step 6 Give Up/Forget: This is the point where I forget plot points and lose track of my concepts. I might give up entirely or I might shelve a project to be picked up later (I never pick them back up). This step is necessitated by the length of time that you can clearly see is involved in my "process". Hell, these 300 words have taken two and a half hours to get down.

The moral? Children make writing very difficult. This piece shouldn't even have a moral. I've forgotten how this was supposed to end. Hey, there's a writing trick for ya. Don't know how to end your piece, wrap it up with a moral!

- Alex

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