How it happens

As I’ve delved into writing in college, I’ve learned what I need to get my creative juices flowing. At this point, I can’t say I’m an expert. It’s an on-going process; I will always be learning how my creative forces in work. But this is what I have so far.

the written word

the written word (Photo credit: paloetic)

First of all, the process of creating a concept and writing it out does not happen in one isolated episode. When I get an assignment or some sort of inspiration I spend my non-writing hours mulling it over. I do my best creative thinking in the shower in the car. (If you ever find me dead in a ditch down by the river next to an overturned vehicle, you’ll know I was thinking about writing.) Many a thesis, lead or theme have been conjured up well before my fingers touch a pencil or keyboard.

I absolutely need a deadline for every single project. It is impossible for me to follow a “get it done whenever” mentality. If my editor does not give me a deadline I assign one to myself, because without one there is simply no hope of that project ever coming to fruition.

Unfortunately, I am one of those writers who puts other things off to ensure that I meet my deadline. Usually, the thing I push back is eating. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t starve myself between those certain crucial dates, but I will not let the opportunity to eat throw off my “flow.” More often than not, when I’m on a roll I forget to eat because my creative forces simply refuse to put up with silly things like appetites.

When sitting down to write, perhaps the most important thing I need is relative quiet. Some soft music gets me started, when I come to a point where I have to carefully consider details like word order I usually turn it off. Outside distractions easily derail me, sometimes if I’m on a role I close the door or put headphones in even if no music is playing.

However, I prefer to have easy access to others to discuss my ideas if I get stuck. My ideas may begin as seeds in my own brain, but they often bloom during discussions with other people, especially other writers. The discussions cover questions ranging from “Does this sound stupid?” to “But what is the meaning of life anyway?”

In the end, it gets written. I edit, overanalyze some of my creative choices and then edit some more. As the editing process continues, I become fixated on and tweak things that probably won’t end up making much of a difference. By the time I publish or turn it the project, there are plenty more changes I’d like to make, but I’ve consented to the thought that the project is probably better than I think it is and is where it’s supposed to be. I think that’s something all writers share.

Fellow friters, I’d like to hear from you. What does your writing process look like? Leave a comment below!

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