It’s a Process

November 17, 2021 at 12:14 pm | 1 year ago

2:03 AM. My TV glows in the darkness, Entertainment Tonight, barely audible. I’m writing. A few feet away soft snoring breaks the silence, but not my focus. I don’t mind losing sleep when I’m making progress. Other times it seems I produce nothing . . . for days. Maybe I can’t carve out the time to put words on paper or screen. Sometimes the business of life is overwhelming. Occasionally I’m out of ideas or uninspired. But I am busy: observing, imagining, curating. It’s all part of the process.

For years I thought writing only meant churning out chapters. I felt guilty, apologetic, and unproductive when I wasn’t consistently generating pages of story. Over the years, I’ve come to accept that writing isn’t just the literal action. It’s also resting, enjoying recreation, and daydreaming while managing life. It’s living between the lines and with my characters; being ready with pen and paper when they show themselves, so I can weave those scraps into a scene that moves the story forward.

As a mother I never thought for a moment that raising my children only happened when I was physically with them. So why should I feel like I’m only creating story when I’m physically putting words on a page?

A Minnesota writer, Kao Kalia Yang, says creativity is “airy.” It’s true. Creativity can’t be contained, and it certainly doesn’t show up on schedule. In the initial phase of story development, I’m most satisfied when I document experiences and ideas as they arise organically. I like to assemble them on a page once I’ve gathered enough pieces to artistically express the point of view I intend. Everyday whether in a car, a coffee shop, office lobby, company break room, or at home, I’m writing.

Life spawns creativity. So listening, imagining, observing, curating, documenting, resting, and recreation are part of the process as well as putting words on a page.

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