So I have a writing process. It’s not an extremely sophisticated process, but I like it and it’s been working for about thirteen days (except that one day in the middle) so let’s assume it’s tried and true. So first, I’ll reflect on my day, isolating incidents of value and interest. More often than not, nothing really happened, but I’ve been reading a lot lately so there’s been no shortage of book related things to share.
After that, I sort of think about what I want to write about – sometimes I’ll go for a retelling, more often than not I embellish and write about my feelings until the blog post has become a diary entry. Usually, though, I have some idea of where I want a post to go when I start – I have some idea of the end goal. I know what I want the story to say, and I try my best to say it.
Sometimes, though, I will be writing something, and it’ll take on a mind of it’s own. This doesn’t happen when I’m writing academic papers or anything (I’m pretty careful about reigning it in!) but when I’m just letting myself write, like I do for this blog, I’ll wind up going places I never expected. Suddenly, rather than relating the hilarious things Tina Fey did, I’m talking about mimicry. And sometimes the end post is much better than it would have been if I had stuck to the plan.
But honestly, sometimes the deviations suck. For example, I tried to write a post about genuinity and vulnerability once, and it was just…strange. It didn’t make sense to anyone who wasn’t me, and there were a number of people who I know would have been hurt if I had posted it (although I don’t know how they would have found it, since so far this is a secret blog). So I didn’t. And I had another post about the Pope a while ago, and in the end it just wasn’t posted – it didn’t make sense, it refused to go in the right direction, and eventually gave up. I decided it was a sign from the universe, and let it be. Nothing I did to keep the post in line worked.
In many ways, writing is a lot like babysitting. You need to have control over your words, or they’ll leave you behind and do whatever they want. They’ll turn on the tap and lock the bathroom door, they’ll turn the T.V. on all the way up, they will REFUSE to go to bed. And sure, you have to have fun, and play games, and honestly it can be just as rewarding as it is difficult. But at the end of the day, everyone needs to know who’s in control, or it simply won’t work.
The other way in which this analogy is apt, is that usually people get paid for babysitting children and words. Unless you’re like me, a person who is currently getting paid for neither.