Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I don't really have a formula of how I write, but I certainly have consistent behaviors that I model in preparation to write (and while I am writing).

First, I have notes for ideas everywhere. And I mean everywhere. I don't suppose that is a very systematic method of gathering thoughts, but it is what I do. The backs of envelopes, the margins of "to-do" lists, dry erase boards, and Post-It Notes galore possess the ink scrawlings of my jumbled ideas. Sometimes I want to remember an idea or a quote. Sometimes I want to sort out a thought. But I am writing all the time. I don't read through books anymore, either. I usually have a notebook of some sort handy to record thoughts prompted by reading. It is constant. I can't seem to turn off my brain, even if I try.

When I am about to actually sit down and write, I have to get my blood pumping, first. I might play a song and dance a little. I might do some sit-ups and attempt pushups. Often, I will sit myself down after a run while my head is still clear to flush out my ideas. I am not sure why I need to spike my heart rate, but it works for me.

I also have to play my "studyin'" playlist that starts with Enya's Storms in Africa. I understand the complete cliche of listening to Enya when writing, but it is how I do. [Note: the video is cheesy as all get-out. Today is the first time I have ever seen this bizarre mess.] The playlist includes songs from The Shins, The Postal Service, Feist, Silverspun Pickups, and other similar alternative bands. I suppose there is a cliche in listening to alternative bands while writing, too. Next, I will be wanting to write out my stories on a typewriter while chain smoking. It could happen.

Then I just have to write. Sometimes it is something I am content with. Sometimes it needs many revisions. Sometimes I feel comfortable posting what I write the day I wrote it, other times I may revisit the piece several times over. I think I enjoy blogging because I know it does not have to be perfect when I publish it. Yes, it is published to the vast interwebs, but it doesn't seem as permanent as maybe a book (and I know I am not about to receive a grade, like for school papers). The lack of pressure makes it easier to write. I am not trying to impress anybody so I can just write.

There are days when I can take all the proper steps and do like I usually do, only to find the words get stuck. On those days, I just can't seem to type out anything. Maybe I don't feel like I have anything to say. Maybe I feel like I have too much to say. Maybe I feel that what I want to say will come across negatively (and my little Jiminy Cricket reminds me if I don't have anything nice to say, it should not be posted to the world via the internet). And sometimes, I just don't want to. But those days, I still try. I see this as a minor way to maintain a skill set that I worked very hard to develop while in school and will continue to improve over my lifetime. This serves as a way to at least maintain that skill set (even if only at status quo... I sense if I stop writing, I will lose the skill set, too). I also know this is one way I can discipline myself; without goals (complete with tasks and deadlines), I can see myself very quickly perishing without a vision. And I don't want that.

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