A Process for Writing
Some days I have the inspiration to write, and others I don’t. For some reason Saturday seems to be a particularly difficult day to write. During a typical week, I would say that have two to three moments of raw and clear inspiration to write. They tend to occur when I’m energized and engaged, which is pretty never Saturday. On Saturday I’m usually pretty chilled out. I like it that way. But I don’t like that it’s hard to write.
It’s easiest to write when I’m headily engaged in a cognitive task, which as life would have it is almost always when I don’t have the time to write. When the inspiration comes I often “write” my speaking in my head but logistics of putting pen to paper, or more aptly fingers to keyboard, just don’t pan out because I have other tasks that I need to do. Or maybe I’m just too lazy to switch gears, or both. It is on Saturday that I set aside the time to write and that seems to be precisely when I can’t. My calm mind seems to have little interest in constructing for the outside world. It’s serenely frustrating.
What I’ve been doing is taking notes or writing little snippets when possible. That helps. Sometimes those snippets serve as writing stubs and I can cruise them to a finish at a later time, but more often, I can’t continue them once I’ve lost the mental frame. Those frames may come back at some point, but I have yet to resolve how to will them to do so.
Of course, every now and then, I do happen to have some inspiration on Saturdays. Mirroring my weekdays, the busier Saturdays tend to be the most inspired, but there’s no hard and fast rule. Still, if I am to regularly output writing that tends towards high quality on Saturdays, I have realized that I am going to have to develop more of a process. This is a work in progress, but I will share some initial thoughts.
I really have no idea what a good writing process should be, but I hypothesize that I ought to take some cues from other structured creatives. The first step usually seems to be some kind of organized but constrained, low pressure but output oriented process of ideation. Often this manifests as sticky notes, white boarding, or just some journaling.
In testing this, just consciously and intentionally stepping out of the frame of trying to write and into the frame of ideating what to write is both more productive and less stressful. My scanning mind catches little nuggets of intrigue, like how I’m descended from bootleggers on both sides of my family, or my various thoughts on what it means to be an American.
I’m actually not sure about step two. I will evolve this process as I create it. But I’ll know that step one is successful if I can consistently get myself inspired — even on a Saturday.