My Writing Process — Magic Doesn’t Happen by Accident
It happens with purpose.
If you think that inspiration is going to come floating down like some mystical fairy and whisper masterpieces into your ear, maybe you should stop reading right now. No judgement, though. I was just like you, fighting against commitment to any kind of ritual or process. Not admitting that all of these years, I actually had one. But I did, and this process was/is necessary to how I create my stories.
I just watched this video of myself talking through the process of bringing BEAUTY SCARS to life. I wasn’t going to post it, but thought what better way to make my point. You can watch that video below:
Now this video is specifically about Beauty Scars, but I realize that I apply most of these same tactics and principles to all my writing, including this post. Here’s a brief of my process:
Wait, let me stop myself here. I don’t want to go through a precise list of what I do. That wouldn’t be authentic. My process is not that linear or redundant and presenting it in a step by step order would be misleading. Instead, let me highlight a few parts of my process that are present no matter what I’m writing.
Write for Rhythm
Anything I write must have a certain beat to it. Think of the drums in your favourite track. That boom boom, boom boom, boom boom, has to flow right. When I write, I test for this. I literally read a sentence and make sure it carries a musical rhythm. If there’s no bounce to the sentence, then I find a different way to write it.
Think Before I Write
This sounds obvious, but let me explain. When I say I think before I write, I mean I think through the entire story/article/post before writing a word. For me, if I can’t hold the full thought in my mind before writing it, then the story isn’t precise enough to share. Until I can repeat the main story-line to myself in plain English, then there shall be no story.
I Call This Blog C.R.Y for a Reason
I’m all about emotion. I don’t care if I’m writing a how-to piece, if there is no content that connects emotionally, then I’m not putting it out. My goal is to move people, to incite some kind of reaction to my work. If that’s not present in the content, then it will never be made public.
I Sit With It
If I’m not as excited today as I was when I first wrote whatever I’m writing, then something’s off. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been through the ceiling for an idea, write it all down, then look at it the next day and wonder what the heck I was thinking.
I’m thinking back to my university days now, when I started writing my first book. I wrote 200 pages of bullshit before I really started writing anything. That’s because I fought against establishing any kind of process, thinking I wanted everything to be organic. I wanted the inspiration to just come and when it did, I’d hopefully be near a computer to write it all down.
That obviously never happened till I started thinking before I wrote. Like really thinking about the messages I wanted to share. Then once those were clear, making sure the writing flowed right. I wanted my readers to enjoy the experience of flipping through the pages of my novel or scrolling through one of my posts. And to me, what’s the point of engaging with any art if you aren’t connected emotionally?
The one thing that scared me most about admitting to a process was the thought of losing any spontaneity. I love the surprises that come with writing. I’ve enjoyed my characters making decisions and taking twists that I could never have predicted. They really do have a life of their own and I’d hate to ever compromise that.
The thing is, though, that process actually makes room to be spontaneous. By having certain guidelines for how you create, it becomes easier to detect when you step outside of those boundaries. And that’s not a bad thing. Being spontaneous is part of great writing. When you know you get next level is when you you start purposefully breaking your routines to distort something in your story. Quick example:
I said rhythm is like one of the most critical aspects of my writing. But there are times when I purposely write more choppy because it emphasizes a point or because it makes sense for a character. I wouldn’t even recognize that or be able to implement that without first following my process.
I think that’s enough for now. The point is really to embrace process, even if it’s chaotic. My process is leaves plenty of room for my story to form itself and as a writer, very few things are as important.