Thursday, September 11, 2014

On the Writing Process

Shimelle Laine wrote this post on her blog about writing and invited her readers to participate, so I am going with it.

What writing are you working on?

I am always working on writing more often, making writing a daily habit. Right now, I don't have a project going, though that has been in my head, on that ever-lengthening to do list, for a long, long time. With autumn coming, the season change brings a time of transition, and I hope to find new ways to bring writing more to the center of daily life. Journaling, especially writing every day, keeps me grounded and centered, and I find the page calling to me a lot lately as I navigate very difficult waters in my life. I've also started art journaling, and of course, there's always the writing I do on scrapbook pages, though I haven't done any scrapbooking lately either. Overall, it seems I'm "clearing the decks" for the things I really need and want to do, and it's a process I'm needing to exercise great patience about.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

As it pertains to art journaling, my work differs from others because I'm brand new to it. Not the writing itself, of course, but the way of expressing myself with artistic expression as the background. I love it, too! I have a great bit of exuberance and interest and energy brewing for art journaling. I want to do more, explore more. As it pertains to scrapbooking, I differ in that writing is not the chore it is for some people who feel they are not "good" writers. I don't tend to label myself that way. I've always had a penchant for writing, so it comes more easily for me than it does for others. At the same time, my scrapbook writing could be more detailed and tell more of the actual story, rather than relying on basics that don't really say much, and I do tend to squeeze journaling in at the last minute, rather than planning the pages around the story I want to tell.

Why do you write what you do?

I write because it is like breathing to me. It's how my mind and spirit breathe. Writing of any kind sustains me, keeps me anchored, gives me a place to dump all the garbage of any particular bad day, sort through it--though that often takes some time and distance--and find the treasure. I write because I can't bear not writing. Writing saves me. Writing elevates me. Writing cures me. Writing is what I do because a writer is what I am.

How does your writing process work?

Process is something I probably need to tweak. Most of the time, I find time to journal, and I put pen to paper. I start with the date and usually the day of the week, and then I plunge in. With scrapbooking, again, it's more of an afterthought once the page is finished except for the words, something I definitely want to change. With art journaling, I usually start with a feeling or a thought that I want to express and play on the page with colors and images, then write on top of that, let my mind wander, or include a quote that I want to savor and keep.

When I write fiction or poetry or a blog post (I forget about blog posts), it's usually free-form, meaning I don't do a lot of planning or structure building. I feel more natural when I just write from whatever's inspiring me and let my mind empty on the page. I've never been much for structure in the form of outlines and planning each scene and chapter and section. Writers do that, and it's probably a better way to go, but when I think of doing that, sitting down to plan out the writing, it feels like I might as well just start writing, rather than spending time on planning. That's what works for me, you know...when I'm actually writing something more creative.

There are times, too, when I go from prompts, and it's something I find useful as a jumpstart or springboard. I once wrote a short story from a writing prompt that simply instructed "write about sin." Those things, challenging my mind to create a story, excite me, similar to the scrapbook challenges I've used for the past few years. In fact, I've been thinking about incorporating writing challenges into my life again to hopefully get more writing done.

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