28 April 2020

Answering a question about writing processes...

A Colleague of the Pen recently shared her writing process asked on social media about the rest of us writers she’s connected to: ‘What’s yours?’

I didn’t, honestly, think I had one until today. There are a few things I do that are a must for the words to flow out:

-Tea. I am a tea fiend. I have different kinds of tea, none of which do I need to add sugar to sweeten it. I do this on purpose because if I get a good sugar rush going, I tend to crash pretty quickly. It’s also an amazing way to ‘wean’ myself off of drinking too much soda. My favourites are Chai Spice Black, Good Earth Spice, Cinnamon Hibiscus, Peach Lemon, and if I’m trying to settle down for the night, but don’t want to go to bed quite yet, Lavender.

- Music. Music is a wonderful way to work through emotions, but it’s also a great way to tune the rest of the distracting world out. Depending on what I’m writing, depends on what I’m listening to in that session. Right now, I’m listening to my Chillhop Playlist on Spotify.

- In the writing community, I’m what’s commonly known as a ‘pantser.’ I go by the ‘seat of my pants,’ so to speak, but some stuff I write does take a little bit of planning, so sometimes – not often – I fall into the ‘plantser’ category. Meaning, I plan but I go by the seat of my britches, too.

- open blinds at the very least! I live in the Midwestern USA, so we tend to live in a bit of a perma-cloud situation. Meaning, we don’t get a lot of sun and decent weather. Today, my blinds are open, and so is my patio door. My ‘office space’ as it were is next to my patio (it’s ‘billed’ as the ‘dining area’ in the apartment’s design, but I have my office area set up in here, which makes it nice and calming when it’s raining and I can work with the patio door open and not have to worry about the rain coming in and getting my floor wet. I get the benefit of listening to nature while I work.

- A notebook and a good pen full of ink – If I run into a weird place in something that I run into a question I can’t answer from my own experience or knowledge from a lesson I’ve learnt or a conversation about something I had questions about that were discussed, I have to research it and take a few notes. I’ve got quite a collection of notebooks of varying sizes, shapes, colours. It isn’t at all a new thing to go through a notebook and find old notes from something or an idea I jotted down ‘for later’ to write about.

-Unusual pens. I am a pen hoarder. I admit it. I’ve got various unique pens. Most of which have come from Dollar Tree, Family Dollar (when they were still around), but I do have my favourite Pentel RSVP pens and my Bic Round Stic ones, also. Legit, I have three cups, a drawer, and two buckets full of pens. I’ve also got a fountain pen my niece got me for Christmas … I think last year? Year before? That I’m starting to get more and more comfortable with using.

-Journals/notebooks aplenty. I’m serious when I tell you, I’ve got scores of these laying around. It’s not unusual to find notebooks that have a few pages with notes scrawled on the pages, nothing makes sense – but it’s not supposed to, to anyone else. ;) I’ve also become quite a binder hoarder, too, it would seem. Thanks, COVID-19…

-Books. Yeah, I know, I know.. But I’m a research nerd, and I like to have the books I’m using for the topic I’m writing about on-hand because when I’m in my ‘zone,’ I don’t want to lose that moment, so I keep the books for that topic on-hand and nearby for a quick grab.

-Post-it notes! Okay… I know what you’re thinking. ‘But you just said you have notebooks two points ago?! Why on earth do you need post-it notes, too!?’ Don’t judge! It’s all part of the whole, ‘that’s a great thought, I need to write that down so I don’t lose it’ part of how my brain works.

-whiteboards and baby wipes! I have two … well, they’re being USED as whiteboards, but they used to be tables. They’re particle board and they are painted with this weird white paint stuff. If I use washable markers – whether it’s the ones you give children for art projects or if it’s simply markers you use for dry-erase boards, I’ve discovered baby wipes do the trick to clean the marker up super well and they’re reusable. I write myself notes – whether it’s random things I want to remember, things I need to do, etc, or I will occasionally tape visual inspirations to the board so I can have something to glance at to kind of motivate my muse to keep working. :)

That’s pretty much it! Not too glamourous, but it works.

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