12 February 2016

Fragment Friday - The Process Edition

Latest multi-color scarf - The 3 Inch Square Scarf. 80 inches long, 11 inches wide warp and weft - 10 dent, 10 PPI. Knit Picks Gloss Black and Stroll Cartoons yarns in fingering weight.

So, I've been thinking of the writing process of late. And of the overall creative process, be it writing or knitting or weaving, etc. There are tons of blogs and web pages out there all purporting to hold the key to successful writing. What they really mean is "This is what works for me". What they are suggesting is, "follow my method and you to shall be like me, successful".  I'll admit I've jumped around trying various methods that promised me I'd write more, better, faster. And they all fell apart for one reason or another. Mainly because it wasn't working for me. So I borrowed here, stole there, and cobbled together some processes that seem to help me along.

I'm always looking for more tips on how to organize my work. Should I do it by electronic file folders? Sort by month and year? Keep all drafts of a work? I tend to write and rewrite over the top of things, because I come from the Banzai! school of writing. Never look back, never surrender. It can work well, but there are a few times when it's been a disaster. On the other hand, I hate searching through 20 incarnations of a poem or story, wondering if it was better three versions ago or now. I like to eliminate options, rather than add them in. In my mind if the language was so super fantastic seven drafts ago, I wouldn't have edited it.

Some folks suggest printing the versions out and putting them in tangible folders. I'm not sure having all those piles of paper wouldn't drive me crazy. More organizing to do. Latest version in the front or the back of the folder? It may sound like small stuff, but I know how the small stuff can grow to be a big problem – even if it's only in my mind. I do like my spiral notebooks with poem/story parts in them. Who says writers can't recycle ideas?

So what is your writing process like? Or creative process? I know I plan out my weaving more carefully than other things, because it involves the dreaded math. I won't even tell you how many Works in Progress I have for knitting. Let's just say I've never met a new technique I haven't wanted to try. Growing older (and wiser) I've started questioning myself. Are you ever really going to use those colored pencils, watercolors, lace weight yarn you are eyeing so intently? If I can honestly say no, I've learned to walk away from the siren call of new stuff. So it is going with writing. I've stopped trying every tip to improve my writing out there, and stuck to the things that work well for me. And you know what? It's working.

How about you? If you could (and would) give advice to the writing or crafting public, what would it be?


Oonah said...

I am best described as................a TOTAL MESS! Love that new scarf!

Constance Brewer said...

I highly doubt that!

Kathleen Cassen Mickelson said...

That scarf is really nice! I've been ignoring writing tips for quite a while now; you've nailed it about why they fall apart for people trying to follow them. People have to find what works for them and the best tip is to keep trying until you find it. If you don't find it over the course of several years, you have to question whether you need to be doing something else altogether. My process works for me: write a draft's beginnings in my head while walking somewhere, write the whole draft by hand, edit it as I go while typing it onto my computer, let myself be surprised by the ending. Toss the old drafts; if they were that good, I would have used them. Follow my gut always. Don't worry if it doesn't work for someone else.
That said, I'm always interested in the environment a writer surrounds themselves with. Candles? Music? Dogs? Mountains? Scotch? I find that piece of everyone's process fascinating, although I'm not sure why.

Constance Brewer said...


Sounds like you have things figured out! As for environment, I tend to do silence with dogs and a cup of coffee to work well. Sometimes I like to get away from the computer and use a notebook and pen. If I use the computer I edit as I go, if a notebook, I type it in and edit it. I'm not good in writing classes where they want you to produce on demand. Sometimes I'll think on an idea for days or weeks before writing it.