My Writing Process (from the Archive)

My horoscope today says, “Puttering around is part of your creative process. So don’t fret if it takes you a few hours of wandering from room to room to get comfortable. This is just what you do before you finally settle into work.”

I’m not a big follower of horoscopes, but I couldn’t have described my writing process any better. I putter around. I wander around from room to room-like the Facebook room and the Twitter room and the email room-before I finally settle in to actually write. The puttering around also involves cleaning the vents in the laundry room, taking bubble baths, drinking lattes, and staring at people in the coffee shop. Some days I avoid the blank page with almost any distraction. I also don’t write every day. There I said it. I write in chunks of time when I can squeeze it in between a full time job and everything else in life.

I've always thought a writer's life SHOULD be like this-wake up, do some Yoga, fix a cup of tea, settle in to my special writing place (check out amazing writer, Laurie Halse Anderson’s woodland writing cottage) with my cat curled quietly in my lap and my dog snuggled in at my feet. I type out pages and pages of new words onto the blank screen and then break for lunch.

Unfortunately, the TRUE story of my day is more like this-I wake up late for work, grab a Lean Cuisine on the way out the door, think about my story in the car, have a budget meeting at 9, a dissertation defense at 10, a disgruntled student at 11 and Lean Cuisine at 12. And so it goes until I get home around six and try to write something before bedtime while I dodge the cat on my desk (see picture) and pull the new lab puppy (goat) off the dining room table.

According to a lot of the advice out there, I just don't write right. Some people say write 10 minutes every day. Other people say take November and write a whole book. Still others said write three morning pages when you first get up. Keep a journal. Write note cards, etc. etc. But none of these suggestions seemed to fit with my writing life as it is right now. At the recent SCBWI conference, I was surprised to see how few people in the crowd wrote full time. Most had other jobs to support their writing habit, as has been my case ever since I began this writing journey.
So, for better or worse, I've come to accept it is my process. Maybe someone else has a similar process and needs to hear they aren't writing wrong? If so, I release you from the imagined perfection of someone else’s process and encourage you to write as much as you can, when you can. It isn’t perfect, but it does work.

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