Just Sit Down and Write
If someone with no preconceived notions of me watched my process from start to finish for a writing assignment, they would more than likely think I hated writing. In actuality, I love to write. Even though I do not know exactly what I want to do in the future, I do know that I want to be writing in some way.
It seems as though I do not like writing because I do not have a set process, and have yet to find one that works consistently. I write papers for one of my classes, blog posts for Digital Writing, articles for Hi-Po, and occasionally I write content for my personal blog. In every writing class I’ve taken, my professors have told my class that we need to find the time, place, setting, etc. that we write best in and capitalize on that for our assignments.
When it comes to time of day, I am all over the place. For one of my classes this semester and last semester, I wrote probably 85% of my assignments from 11pm to 3am, all in one sitting on the day they were due, and I saw no difference between those and the 15% I wrote in advanced and for which I split up the work across several times. Because of the hour at which I write these, I’m usually in my bedroom, and I always create an outline to organize my thoughts beforehand.
For my blog posts for Digital Writing, when I try to plan out what I want to say, they take me way longer than it does when I go into it with only an idea or topic. But then when I only have an idea, I get sidetracked more easily. With this post for instance, I knew I wanted to write about my process, and in the 30ish minutes I’ve been sitting here, I’ve checked my grades and the weather, watched an interview clip on YouTube, texted my parents about something pointless, and updated one of my playlists on Apple Music. I really don’t know how it still takes me longer to write posts that I plan out in advance, but I always end up spending way more time writing those, even if they end up being the same length and quality as the others.
While writing my Hi-Po stories and content for my personal blog, there is absolutely no pattern whatsoever. Sometimes I have flying fingers of fury and can knock it all out quickly, and other times, it’ll take ages to write a 400 word article.
When reflecting on my process for all of these assignments, it seems as though for formal pieces, I do better when I create an outline in advance, while for free form, I’m okay just sitting down and writing. For the short-form I’m not quite sure how I want to tackle it. Because it is more formal, logically, I think I should use an outline. However, when I write articles for Hi-Po, my “outline” is never more than a brief list of the general topics I want to include in the order that seems to flow best.
It was helpful to use the descriptive outline to break down “A Painful Paradox: The Case for Reclaiming the Black Beauty Supply” to better understand how our articles should be formatted and roughly when/how to include certain information. There will definitely be differences in the formatting as Elder used testimony from people in that industry, while I will most likely use more quantitative data when presenting evidence, but it gave me a good idea of what to envision. Regardless, I basically know what I want to say and have a decent idea of how I want to do so; now I just have to actually do it.
While I understand the importance of knowing when and where you write best, I think it’s okay if you don’t (A large part of this stance is just to reassure myself, as I have made it abundantly clear, I don’t have a consistent process) It can be beneficial to write in different settings because it allows writers to have the opportunity to be inspired by new things. People always say it’s important to think outside the box, but sometimes, they just need to completely remove themselves from the box altogether.