In interviews, writers always get the question “What is your writing process?” And I’m all,
I usually answer this, sort of, but I always feel like I’m lying a little bit, because I don’t really have a set process. I don’t have rituals I follow or things I do every time I sit down to write.
My writing process changes every day. One day, it might be locking myself in a quiet place with coffee, a dog, and a killer idea. Another day, it might be watching Netflix while I knock out an outline or a short story. I sometimes crank up some music and the words just flow. I don’t have a favorite spot (although the garage is the only place I’m almost never interrupted) and I don’t have a favorite drink/drug/song that has to be part of it. I write wherever I end up and I guess I’m almost always drinking coffee, so it’s a given that’ll be part of it. It’s not necessary, though.
Is that odd?
A big part of being a productive writer is routine. I believe this, and yet, I don’t have a routine. Could be why I’m such a binge writer. Nothing for a couple of weeks and then bam! All the words for those two weeks written in two days.
The more that I thought about this question, I realized the only constant in my writing process is that if things are too calm or perfect, I just can’t do it. I’m used to chaos, or at least working in stressful environments, so it’s become part of what I’m comfortable with. When things go smoothly, I get itchy, like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. When they are going horribly wrong, then I’m all, “Yeah, the worst is happening now. I can relax.” So, if the dogs are being assholes or the house is a mess or something shitty has happened at work, or someone is upset over whatever, or I’m exhausted or angry or (insert any extreme emotion here) then I’m so ready to write I can barely stand it.
There you go. My writing process involves being stressed to the point of breaking. Only then does the good shit come. If everything is cool, then I have to work really hard to get the words out.
I probably need help. That’s okay. We all need help in some way. Right?
Anyway, what’s your process? Are you religious about it, or are you open to mixing things up to see if a change might make you more productive?