I wake up early and refreshed, while the family remains blissfully asleep. With my hot mug of black coffee and freshly toasted, cream cheese-slathered blueberry bagel, I settle with my laptop at the desk in my office, which has a gorgeous view of the autumn forest in the backyard. The morning sunlight filters through the trees and falling leaves creating a visual wonderland, while the deer family saunters across the yard munching the grass. Inside, my houseplants, oil diffuser, and salt lamp surround me to create a calm and serene atmosphere. The radio softly plays my favorite music in the background. Inspiration – images, phrases, poetry – flows through me with the ease of the changing seasons. I stretch my fingers out over the keyboard as Zen overtakes my spirit, and beautiful words and ideas flow from my soul through my hands onto the screen, creating stunning, captivating and visually enticing prose in a perfect, harmonious flow.
Are you one of those mythical unicorn writers that are able to pull this off? Perhaps you’re able to profusely bleed your soul and creativity all over the screen or notebook, but in a non-messy sort of way. Maybe you come up with the most appropriate content at exactly the right moments. (#jealous) Do you have a secret? (It’s the salt lamp, isn’t it?)
Believe me, I’d give my analytical left brain to be able to function like this.
So maybe that process doesn’t work for you either. If you’re unable to create like this, agonize no more. I’ve created an alternative. The following is my actual writing process in a convenient, easy-to-follow, step-by-step process. Feel free to imitate it if it works for you.
- Set yourself down in front of a television sitcom or drama and allow some vague idea to pop into your head when a character says or does something stupid or funny. This also works with superhero movies or your in-laws.
- Go to bed and wake up at 2:00am with your head full of unique, subconsciously-created sentences and phrases so breathtaking that Thoreau himself could have crafted them. Don’t write them down; they’re so amazing, there’s no way you’re going to forget them.
- Wake up late and bleary-eyed the next morning, promptly forgetting the inspiration that materialized during the middle of the night.
- Go about your day, executing all your life stuff, job stuff, parenting stuff, house stuff, etc.
- Sit down in the evening and word retch all over your laptop monitor. Make sure you do this while one kid is crying over her math homework and another is arguing with you about unlocking the computer for more screen time. Bonus points if the parakeets are angrily chattering with each other and the dog is staring at you while performing his trademark “Chihuahua Shake.”
- Edit the hell out of what you just wrote: chop 25% to 40% of your writing, spend a ridiculous amount of time with the thesaurus searching for the perfect word, and rearrange sentences until you’re cross-eyed.
- Change the ending of your story or essay or blog post because the right side of your brain just now decided that it has a better idea. Then rewrite the rest of it too because now nothing makes sense with the new ending.
- Repeat steps 5-7 ad nauseam.
I hope this is helpful. Now, please excuse me while I go and revise this entire post.