The Writing Process

When I write, I usually don’t know what my conclusion will be. On rare occasions I only know the ending, and I have no idea how I will get there.

Writing, for me, is a process of discovery. It is not like I have a complete story inside of me that I need to get out. I have just a glimpse. A heartbeat. A descriptive breath. If I am quick enough with pen and paper I can capture that moment. If not, it fades away to wherever dreams that haven’t been finished being dreamt go.

Of the moments I catch, some stick there in the pages of my notebooks for days or months before I reorganize my life and toss them out. A few of them, though, keep going. My pen latches on to them, or maybe they claw at my pen, drawing it down to the paper, and I keep writing, never knowing what will happen in the next moment.

These are the good ones. Or, at least they are the fun ones. They are what make writing a joy.

I tend not to be superstitious, but I am overly cautious in this area. I have learned that if I think about something I am writing- if I tongue it and work out some kind of plot in my head, then it will never get finished. Instead, every time the story insists on being thought I must let it be written. Sometimes, when I finish a passage, I reread it and wonder how that plot twist happened.

When I blog it is the same thing. I get a beginning. A point. An instant. From there I simply write, figuring out what I think and feel along the way. I know that if I work out phrases ahead of time the post will get to be a draft at best, and will never reach a conclusion.

Honestly, this even happened in academic writing. I was always the student who turned in her thesis proposal and then wrote a paper that completely contradicted it. Luckily, my instructors accepted my final conclusions. I always thought it was silly, to have an idea and then find the research that supports it. I would rather let the research lead me in loops until I reach a logical conclusion. THEN go back and have an idea.

I’ll never understand those people who have a crystallized thought in their head that they need to express. For me it is all murky exploration. It is a wet, slippery process, and I love it. 

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