Chain letter and Anne-Rae’s Writing Process
Thanks to the author of award winning book “Sendero” Max Tomlinson who dared to tag me (along with authors Jill Nojack and Tess Collins) in a literary chain letter. I normally toss chain letter requests in the trash but this one intrigued me. Also, I don’t ever want to get on Max’s bad side. I heard he knows some people… but I digress.
Is Writing a Process?
For me, yes and no. Ideas are constantly swirling in my mind like a tornado of stories, ideas, images and melodies. A lot of people ask me, “How can you do all the things you do?” The simple answer is, if I don’t write or do something with them, more than likely, I’d go completely bonkers or worse yet, shrivel up and turn into a bland Stepford wife whose satisfaction in life is saying that I make a darn good pot roast.
My thoughts on writing in general
In the old days, I always had a pen and a pad of paper near by. When an amazing idea, thought or even a dream came to me, I’d jot it down right away so I wouldn’t forget. This obsession led to me creating journals and journals of stories, poems, songs, recipes and random thoughts which are now archived in a box gathering dust somewhere in my parent’s attic.
What can I say? The act of physically writing with pen in hand puts me in touch with my inner self. Writing things down gives me clarity especially when I’m brainstorming ideas. Writing with a pen allows me to doodle which for some reason helps my stories bounce off the page and come to life. Like a true art form, no computer word processing program could ever replace the feeling I get when I write with pen and paper.
When I left my teen years to leap towards adulthood, saving time became a necessity for me. Gone were the days of locking myself in my room, listening to The Beatles’ White Album while I penned my memoirs. Writing had to take a back seat to making a living so that I could feed and clothe myself, my kids and my family. But how could I ignore all the pretty prose or audacious adventures swirling in my head? Thankfully, the dawn of the computer era and word processing software entered my life. Being able to type at 100 words per minute meant I could write more in a shorter amount of time.
Thus started my late night writing sprees. When everyone in the house was fast asleep, I’d be typing away, pouring out my pent up thoughts, a tsunami of ideas suppressed in the back of my mind during the numbness and monotony of the day.
To be honest, I just described what I’m doing right this minute. Sitting here by myself, writing this post while my darling children snore in their beds. Small gusts of wind blow through the window rattling the vertical blinds. It’s the only sound in the room aside from the tap tap tap of my fingers on the keys. It is pitch dark in my room, except for a tiny desk lamp. Its head is pointed towards the wall so that the blinding rays of the halogen light can bounce off of it, spilling enough light for me to see my keyboard. If you ever walk into any space I work in, you may notice that the lamps in the room are either pointed upwards towards the ceiling or towards the wall.
What’s all this marshmallow philosophical mumbo jumbo? I want to hear your tips and tricks!
Too bad. I’m not going to go into the mechanics of writing as you could find books or blogs about that, nor am I going to go into the dull description of planning your writing like a project. I do that at my day job and if you’re here wanting to know about the technical stuff behind writing, go find that somewhere else. Project planning has always been a natural skill which I’ve honed over the years juggling multiple projects for myself and with teams. It’s not something I can blog to you about and suddenly, it’s going to make you a professional writer. There are tons of blogs out there where you can find tips on how to do this. All I will say about this is that being a professional writer means that you have to organize your work, plan out the story and the plot and then flesh out the details once the structure is done. There is a lot of other things you have to do after that but I’m bored so that’s all I have to say about that.
Be a rebel and break the rules
Having some framework around your writing is a good thing. But the fun part… the creative part, that’s where I let my ideas take me away. When I create content for my videos, a lot of the time, an idea comes into my head and I play it out in my mind a couple of times before sharing it with someone else. Then I let the collaboration between both of us or even three of us take over. When the pressure is on and the clock is ticking, I find that the best content comes out. It’s writing without writing it down. It’s an idea that is hatched in my crazy brain and then shared with someone else who adds their own insanity to it and then we share it with someone else who sprinkles it with an icing of delicious humour. That’s how I “write” content for my videos. So for this example, there is no framework. It’s create on the fly and run and gun filming.
…is when authors race through their writing so that they can tell everyone they wrote 5000 words that week as if it were a huge accomplishment. Do I care if an author wrote 5000 words? Granted that they are reaching their goal of having their first draft of their novel completed, kudos for that. My beef is with the fact, they felt that the metrics surpassed the point of why they are writers in the first place. Celebrate the work that you created that day and not how many keyboard strokes it took to get there. Writing is creating art. Art’s value is not how long or how fast it took to complete the work. Art’s value is the PLEASURE (yes, you heard me… PLEASURE) of creating the art into a medium where others can enjoy it or tear it apart. It doesn’t matter because it is yours. You made it and that’s what you should be proclaiming to the world.
I know that you were expecting a writing process checklist of sorts. If this was my day job, I could easily spit one out for you. But if you’re already a writer, you already know what the technical processes are. If you don’t, then you have to do some homework. This post was me sharing with you what my writing process is and it seems it’s a fluid ever changing process for me as I’m guessing it is for most writers. There is nothing wrong with that.
Tagging authors who I admire
So the rule of this game is to tag three more authors so here I go. And please do blame Max Tomlinson and not me for doing this.
I taggeth Khaled Talib, author of Smokescreen.
I taggeth Cairn Rodrigues, author of The Last Prospector
I taggeth Christine Steendam, author of Heart like an Ocean
If you are cursing my name under your breath, guys, please remember that it was Max Tomlinson who started this.
– wishing you the best in all your writing –