A Bit About My Writing Process

I’ve seen a few conversations about writing process on Google Plus, so I thought it might make a good blog post. Normally my writing process goes something like this: procrastinate, procrastinate some more, get frustrated, finally write something. Now, when I do actually get past the various iterations of the procrastination stage I do have a more structured routine.

To start off with I like to write things by hand. Personally, I think it helps work through ideas a little bit better. I write much more slowly than I can type, so there’s more time for ideas to form and come together. I also just love the feel of using a fountain pen, the tactile sensation helps get me in the writing mood. I may or may not wear headphones when I’m at the handwriting stage of things. These days I write in a spiral bound, unlined notebook that I can take with me various places, so headphones may not be an option.

I tend to write specific scenes, choosing a location and who’s there. Each one provides a specific bit of information or moves the larger plot along in some way, but how it actually plays out is actually up to the characters. That sounds silly, I know. I always thought it sounded strange to hear writers talk about how their characters did things on their own, but that tends to be how it works. Once I get them together in a scene I just let the personalities I’ve established bounce off one another and interact however feels right. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, and I have to write the same scene several times after reading through it. Usually this happens when I have a specific idea in mind. Other times I’ll sit down and have little idea of what I want to do, and it will all work out wonderfully. Writing is strange like that.

It’s interesting to me that I’ve come to think of my writing as character driven these days. I never used to. I always had grand plots, and figured out the characters to suit it as I went along. I still think I have some problems with characterization, with actually creating people who feel unique and different. But once I have them, it almost writes itself.

Anyway, when I get past the handwriting phase I move on to actually typing up what I’ve written down by hand. For this part, headphones tend to be a necessity. I don’t know why, but I have a much easier time concentrating on writing when I can put on some music and tune out the rest of the world. I’m wearing them right now, actually, as I write this blog post. The kind of music doesn’t really matter, I’ve found. As long as it’s something I enjoy and can listen to easily I’m good. For some scenes with a certain feel I’ll put on selected works from the Mass Effect sound tracks, the Transformers movie scores, etc. But in general the music just acts as a filter.

What I type out usually bears little resemblance to what I wrote by hand. The gist of it will be the same – who’s in the scene and what it accomplishes – but it all goes through some sort of strange refining process between my eyes and my typing fingers. Reading what I wrote by hand vs how I typed it out, I always like the typed version better. I’m not sure why that is, really, but it seems to work.

The entirety of this process tends to involve copious amounts of tea, both caffeinated and caffeine free depending on the time of day. Which reminds me – most of my best writing gets done at night before bed. I think part of it is that during the day I work, and on weekends I feel like I should be doing other things (even if I’m cunningly avoiding doing those things). Or, possibly, it’s that I’ve always been a night person. If I didn’t have a day job I could probably stay up all night writing and sleep through the day without any problem. Then again I’m fairly sure my wife wouldn’t be entirely thrilled with that schedule.

So there you go, a bit about my writing process (such as it is).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *