What’s Your Writing Process?

How do you approach your writing process? Are you an inveterate outliner, or do you let your ideas flow and follow them where they take you? Would you consider using more process than you currently do or less? What do you make of the idea of starting by writing your endings and then working to them from the beginning?

About 18 months ago, vermeer007

when I closeted myself in a room to sit down and write,

I froze.

I considered writing to be a solitary craft

but looking at a blank screen

or talking into thin air

was a sterile exercise in futility for me.

I could not translate

the same creative energy

that I experienced telling a story verbally,

to the keyboard.

My imagination lay dormant.

My logical intellect wrote boring drivel.


I heard the word blog.

Somehow in the whirl of creating and designing a site,

I learned to close the wings of my self critizing brain,

to open the wings of my imagination and intuition,

liberating a fountain of words that lay buried

deep in my subconcious.


an idea springs up from my inner self,

reflections and connections

seem to take on a life of their own.

I can hardly type fast enough to keep up to the flow of words

It is like writing with my fingertips,

not my brain.

Like a butterfly that struggled for years to emerge

from a cocoon of exhaustion

My words emerged,

reformed, renewed, reborn.

I realize now that I really am a story-teller. My oral skills have always been excellent, even as a small child. I delight in the energy and flow of words, dramatic gestures and the relationship with even one listener when I tell one of our legendary stories about the exploits of nine kids on a farm. Yes, my Irish side is alive and well and pushing me to write.

I write to engage with other people, to contribute my voice to issues in our society or to share an insight that might help a fellow human being. I write because no one has the same experiences or the same opinions as I do. I write because I have discovered a voice that is unique, a voice that simply must communicate.

For me the joy mothering has been my call, my vocation and my silent witness to the world for 32 years. Now writing has become the method of expressing that vocation to a world that has largely forgotten the wisdom of mothers and more importantly, the wisdom of children.

I have discovered that just like I like I can form a story as I tell it, now I can create as I type. When an episode or opinion pops into my brain, I did not consciously choose to write about that topic or person. It was an eureka moment, that surprised me. I wonder,

“Where did that thought or memory come from? I haven’t thought about him for years!”

Suddenly an entire story rises up from that one thought because I have assimilated emotions, reflections, connected quotes, philosophy and integrated it all with my faith. Initially my right brain takes over, creativity flows like a river of words. The entire process is largely subconscious. I unwittingly combine a spirit of creativity with a gift to craft words together. Writers in past centuries called it the muse. Left logical brain editing follows afterwards. However, if I attempt to write the first draft with my logical left brain, the article is stilted, boring and painful to read.

I suppose I am not ready to write a masterpiece but I have tasted what it is like to connect to the powerful creative force that flows through all of us. Creativity is addictive. Nothing surpasses the thrill of sitting in front of a blank page or screen with an equally blank mind when an spark deep with me flares up and a story emerges in the middle of the flames. I simply start writing naturally, almost without effort. The words flow as fast as I can type. I do not think; I just type. As Ray Bradbury says,

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.

“I do not plan my fiction any more than I normally plan woodland walks; I follow the path that seems most promising at any given point, not some itinerary decided before entry.”~John Fowles

“Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. ~Sharon O’Brien”

My point is that when anyone begins writing, resist the temptation to imitate other writer’s style. Find your own voice. Write from your heart and soul. Write what you are passionate about and your enthusiasm and joy will open the door to words which connect with your readers. In other words, you will begin the journey to become a great writer


2 thoughts on “What’s Your Writing Process?

  1. I’m a bit of each really. Both a planner and a spur-of-the-moment type of blogger.
    If I’m writing a post about something very specific that requires research, I’ll often spend a couple of hours finding links and copying them to clipboard for ease of access when I finally start writing.
    In a recent award acceptance post, I decided to attempt to link all my nominees together in a giant daisy chain starting with Lanthie, who gave me the award, and ending with my seventh nominee, with seven links between each nomination. (And by links, I mean tenuous links via various cultural references with no immediate similarities, quite a challenge)
    For that, I spent all day at work jotting down ideas on a hugely complicated grid/flowchart whenever I thought of another tenuous connection between two apparently unrelated facts, so that when I got home I just had to spend bloody hours copying links (actual url links this time) to all the websites, movies, songs and blogs that were referenced in the massively contrived epic masterpiece that became the Tenuous Lynx Award.

    And you know what? I loved every convoluted hour spent doing it.
    And you know what else? The post got one of the worst hit rates of recent posts.
    AND NOT ONE of the recipients took up the challenge of passing my lovely new award on!
    But I didn’t care, because it was great fun to do.
    But if I get flash of Inspiration, I’ll just start writing and see where it takes me. Those are the ones I find the easiest, and the most fun, to write.


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