Because my spring semester at college does not begin for another few weeks and my part-time job has become extremely part-time, I find myself with a lot of free time these days. Mostly when I have free time I reread Harry Potter and watch Boy Meets World episodes on the internet take dance classes and work on Swingnacht.
When I mentioned the Swingnacht part to an acquaintance (of course I called it “my work-in-progress Novel” instead of “Swingnacht” because apart from being a German word, “swingnacht” is also a mostly made-up German word) he immediately asked “what’s your writing process like?” which sort of surprised me. I mean, he hardly knows me and here he is asking me this very personal, intimate question?!?! As if I would tell him, the nosy scoundrel.
Okay, so the truth is, I don’t really know if I have a writing process. Jo Rowling used to push her daughter around in the pram for a bit and then mosey over to the nearest cafe and write brilliant best-selling books about good and evil and wizard school and socks. Ernest Hemingway used to . . . well, I’m not really sure what Hemingway used to do whle writing except probably “breathe” (Google just failed me) but I’m sure he had a process. So what’s mine? This is my best guess:
1.Return from dance studio/gym/wherever all sweaty and exhausted and sore. Throw bags and coat on bedroom floor and put the kettle on.
2. Turn on laptop with intention of turning Swingnacht into brilliant, groundbreaking masterpiece.
3. Get momentarily distracted from plans of creating great art by Facebook, Skype, Twitter and YouTube.
4. A half-hour later, find myself googling “civil war conspiracy theories” for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
5. Remember that I forgot about the water I just boiled. Boil more water, finish making tea.
6. Lose my stolen wireless signal and after a series of failed attempts to reconnect, decide to open a Swingnacht word document.
7. Spend five-minutes reading a chapter I rewrote for the fourth time last week.
8. Bash head against key-board a few times at how horrible the writing is.
9. Decide to take a shower. People get good ideas in the shower. I will surely emerge from the shower as the greatest writer of the twenty-first century.
10. Shower. Become discouraged when shower does not turn me into James Joyce or Markus Zusak. Delete a few sentences furiously while still wearing bathrobe, then spend another ten minutes trying to figure out a way to rewrite entire chapter so it doesn’t sound so stupid.
11. Repeat step ’10’ several times.
11. Finally write a few paragraphs I like a little bit. Move on to a new chapter and repeat.
There you have it. 11 surefire steps for writing a novel you will finish one day and then spend an entire year editing and rewriting.
Lately these 11 steps have been performed in the comfort of my own home, but usually I like to “write” (delete, bash etc.) in a cafe somewhere because it prevents me from yelling at myself too much. There is one west village cafe that I’m pretty sure knows me as the “girl who hits ‘delete’ a lot and drinks coffee faster than can possibly be healthy.” But I’ve blogged about that before.
Do you have a writing process? Do you have 11counter-productive steps like me or a specific place you like to write? Care to share?
EDIT: Thanks to a kind commenter, you can read about Ernest Hemingway’s writing process here. Awesome!