Maybe you’re sitting at home, on your bed, gazing aimlessly, thinking, "I should be doing that thing I said I was going to do this morning." If you’re like me, you’ll think that, and then go back to doing whatever it was you were doing. But every now and again, willpower wins. So, if you’ve made it this far already, sit back as I try to detail what happens when willpower does win – regarding this blog – resulting in The Process.
"Wait, so there’s actually some sort of method you use for writing your posts on this?"
Not really, barely, yes, maybe, ish. Calling it a method may be overstating it, but there is some sort of vague plan.
It all boils down to the type of thing I’m writing. Everything usually falls into one of the following themes:
Once I know what kind of theme the post is going to be – and one post might hit several themes – I can usually draft out in my mind what the structure is going to be like, the points I want to convey and how I want the overall tone to sound. After it’s stuck there in my mind, if it’s a standard post like this, I’ll usually bang it out in one evening. Or maybe it’s something a little more personal, so requires a bit more thought – in that case it’ll take a bit longer. The stories (fictional) are the ones which take a long time to plan, draft and write, but that’s mostly because it’s a new genre that I’m still working on perfecting.
When whatever it is I’m writing is ‘done’, it then undergoes a rigorous refactoring/spell-checking phase. It’s like putting your clothes on an intense wash in the world’s most self-aware washing machine. I might come up with a better way to say something, or move some paragraphs around to create a new effect. The "intense washing" bit comes from my drive for zero grammatical errors and complete awareness of the tone I’m trying to convey. That tone thing is especially important when it comes to the Jesus stuff. People don't come here for damning judgement, and you won't find any.*Actually, people rarely come here, at all.
Sometimes it's tempting to carry this part on for longer than it's worth. There are so many different ways something can be written, I almost want to try them all just to see what it all sounds like. Saying that, this is also where things get heavily edited down. It's not that everything I write is 1000s of words long, but sometimes I might draft something in the evening that doesn't sound right in the morning. It all comes back to the tone. That's always been a solid anchor for what I to write. If something doesn't sound right, I smash that
backspace like a fool.
One thing I find helps, is keeping the structure of the post as loose as possible. Meaning, when I start writing, I’ll keep the ending open because I’m keen to see where it could go. What I’ve started doing recently is writing multiple endings (which years ago I hated doing) because I'm not always going to get it perfect first time every time.
The ending is usually the most difficult part. I want to leave people on a high - maybe with a chuckle or some sort of encouragement. But it's so frustrating when what I'm trying to say just doesn't hit that mark. So one thing I try to remember, is not to take myself too seriously. I don’t have a fancy writing degree. This isn’t my job. No one will pay me for posting another article on this blog. This is just something I really enjoy doing, so above all else, I should try to enjoy it. The Process isn’t so much about writing the best thing, it’s about finding the best way to do something I already love.
Why am I telling you this?
Because I think it’s important to share how you work to help other people. We can all learn something from each other. I was tempted to make this a joke and just come out and say, "You’ve been duped! There is no process. Ha!" But then I actually started thinking about it and even my 'no process', still houses some thought and structure behind it.
Now I’m interested to find out: what’s your process? Maybe you’ve got a specific way you do your job, write something, or make a meal. Sharing is caring.