Friday, July 18, 2014

The Writing Process

as experienced by Shayla Poling

Start off by opening your word processor of choice. This step is crucial. Not only does it allow you to type words (remember: words are vital to the writing process), the icon's presence on your taskbar will serve as a constant reminder that you sat down to write, not to browse Facebook or get caught up in a video game that will devour your time faster than you can say "Just one more turn."

Oh how it taunts me.

Every ten minutes, bring up your blank word processor document. Stare at the blinking line, wondering why it refuses to produce words of its own accord.

Please do the thing. I'm begging you.

Eventually, a word will come to you. Don't panic! Transferring that word from your mind to the page is a relatively simple process. Just follow these steps:

  1. Keeping the word in mind, minimize whatever browser you've been using to procrastinate.
  2. Open your word document.
  3. Find the first letter of your word on the keyboard. If you don't have a keyboard, this, as well as the next few steps, may be a little difficult.
  4. Press the key corresponding to the first letter of your word. If you push the wrong key, locate the "Backspace" button on the right side of your keyboard. Press that button to erase your mistake, and we'll forget this little mix-up ever happened.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with each letter of your word.
  6. When you've typed out the full word, congratulations! You've taken your first steps on the path to authorship. Feel free to bask in the glow of your monumental accomplishment.
This first word is a true classic.

Now that you've written a word, more words may start popping into your mind. This can be a frightening experience for newcomers. How do you sift through the good words and the bad? The answer is simple: Don't. Words are rare and fickle beasts. At this stage in the process, you can't afford to set any loose. Write down every single word, making sure to follow the above steps for each.

Eventually, after many hours of alternating procrastination and productivity, you will have between one sentence and five pages of writing. You may now feel justified in "taking a break." However, any time you choose to "take a break," you will likely have to restart the entire process. It is recommended that you reach your intended page/paragraph/sentence minimum before "taking a break."

For best results, repeat these steps daily.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT begin editing until you have a finished draft. If you start editing at this stage, you are likely to second guess yourself. Second guessing can be fatal for a fledgling piece of writing.

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