Please note: I wrote this post in late 2012 while we were living in Portland, OR. I decided to share it again because I’ve received a few writing related questions via email.
Right now I’m sitting in a small Portland cafe called The Bean Tree. My cup is dark brown, just like the coffee and the exquisite walnut table it’s sitting on. The Bean Tree is one of my favorite spots. I usually slip into this cafe on the way home from my weekly volunteering gig at Living Yoga. It has a view of the river and the Hawthorne Bridge. I love watching the cyclists zoom across; they look like a moving rainbow, with shades of orange, green, blue, and red.
As I watched the cyclists, I thought about a few questions I received from subscribers about my writing process. Below are the questions and my responses:
What’s your writing process like?
When I begin to write, I choose one of the strategies below and get going:
1. used to do most of my writing on 750words.com. Now I use a journal for my warm-up writing as well as my blog posts, essays, and portions of my book. I’m on the computer too much and there is something freeing about putting pen to paper. I’m also less likely to edit while I write. I just keep the pen moving across the page.
2. I try to do work in bursts. They range from 15 minutes to an hour. The length of the burst depends on what I’m doing. If I’m editing, I might go for an hour and then give myself a 10-minute stretching break or I might do warm-up writing for 15 minutes and then increase my time as I start to work on an essay or chapter. I’m really active, so if I don’t move my body within 45 minutes to an hour, I get very cranky and my productivity goes down the tubes.
3. If I’m stuck, I look for writing prompts online or in books. I’m re-reading the book, “Writing Down the Bones” and it’s filled with a lot of thought-provoking prompts.
Why do you write?
I write because it’s challenging and if it wasn’t challenging, I would get bored and move onto something else.
I write because it’s one of the few jobs that gives me freedom. I can set my own hours, work on projects that excite me, and I don’t have to worry about clocking in at an office.
I write because words give me a sense of power in an uncertain world.
I write because I’m still trying to figure out who I am.
I write because I want to communicate through words and help others.
I hope this brief Q & A gives you a better idea of why I write. If you have additional questions about writing, feel free to ask in the comments section.
Before you go …
Courtney Carver and I created something awesome for you! We will be hosting a writing workshop called “Writerly: a workshop for aspiring authors” in late September. I hope you will join us! Learn more here.