How do you write – your blog posts, your journal entries, your papers for school or work? I’m curious about your process.
- Do you sit down every morning with the topic or a catch-phrase and put words on the page?
- Would you consider yourself a “disciplined” writer? I’m guessing for those of you who post every day, there must be some structure to it. Do you journal every day at the breakfast table? Do you draw up an outline for the paper you’re writing?
- Do you draft multiple pieces, writing as much as you can on whatever you’re thinking about at the time, and come back later to develop it?
- Do you walk around with potential topics, even particular wording, battling for space in your brain? (This is how it happens for me – part of it writes itself in my thoughts.)
- Do you jot down a title or theme, based on a passing comment from a friend or a clever phrase you read someplace?
- A different process completely? Tell me more!
There would be days and days in a row where I wrote in my journal. Then the next entry would start with, ” Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve written. In the past few weeks, I …”
I remember learning to write term papers in middle school – multiple drafts, scribbled on the yellow paper with the two red vertical lines on the left and 33 blue horizontal lines across the page. I’d write furiously, scribble, draw circles and arrows where I wanted to move phrases around, cross out – no, keep! I remember learning the process: paragraphs I, II, III. Key points per paragraph A, B, C. Sub points 1), 2), 3). Depending how long or detailed the paper was, there could be a), b), c), all under the sub points. If I got really fancy, there was i), ii), iii). Whew! We were often required to turn in several drafts per paper, the teacher red-penning suggestions and corrections and handing them back for the next revision.
The night before the paper was due, I’d fall asleep to the clickety-clack of Daddy on the manual typewriter, somehow reading through all the scribble on my final draft, and typing it for me. He is a fast typist – click click click zoom! (Listen here. Thanks, youtube.) Of course, the day came when we had to type our papers. I got my own typewriter for my birthday – the cartridge kind, where I’d pop out the ink cartridge to put in the corrector cartridge, and then switch again. That machine worked into my college years. Way before the cut-and-paste of a paper written with a word processor. When did that start?
So I’ve been wondering for the past several days exactly what is rattling around in my brain, and how do I “put it on paper?”
Part of the thought battling to be written down comes from my efforts at answering all the questions required for a particular blogging award. Quite frankly, I’ve been paralyzed by it. I got all the way to the last section and have been unable to finish it. So it sits in my DRAFTS. I like what I’ve written so far, but if I can’t finish the requirements to the award, how do I continue?
I have a DRAFT that I began back in April. I was clicking along as I wrote, and I found a good stopping spot for the night (I seem to start writing down my thoughts at 10:15pm, when I should be crawling into bed, like now!). The next morning, just before I was ready to finish and publish, I got some news from dear friends that made my post seem so inadequate compared to the pain they were suffering. So I left it for the future, maybe.
I have a DRAFT that is actually an email I wrote to someone. I really like what I said, I just need to generalize it a little so it’s not directed at any one in particular but to the general readership of my blog.
I have a story from my past that I long to share here, so I have key memories of the event jotted down in a DRAFT.
When I wrote my first blog post, I couldn’t find the DRAFT button, and was terrified that I was going to accidentally PUBLISH too soon. As it is, I make so many corrections – spelling, punctuation, active voice – and I save the DRAFT so often, each piece has – like – 20+ “revisions.” But I learned the importance of the SAVE button when I lost one of my first posts – poof! it was gone!
My husband and I were on a walk the other night, and I was telling him about being stuck on a particular post. And he reminded me that I don’t have to finish it. He told me that my blog is mine to write – or not write – what I want. I get to decide what I want to share, what I hope others want to read. So if I don’t finish a post I’ve started, so what? That’s my choice, my freedom.
Oh yeah! When I’m experiencing depression, it’s hard for me to think outside of the rules, whatever those are that I’ve established for myself. I get set in my ways; it’s very hard to think outside the box; I need to cut myself some slack. (Insert any other idioms that may apply.)
So, this is today’s post. The DRAFT acceptance for the blogging award will sit in my DRAFT folder – maybe I can rework some of it to be a regular post. Maybe I’ll finish revising the email-turned-post DRAFT – I really like that one. Maybe enough time has passed that I can feel comfortable posting the DRAFT from April.
But for now, I’d really like to hear your thoughts on writing. If you want to, in the comments below, choose 1-6 above and tell me a little about how you write. I’d love to know.
PS – this post has 22 revisions!