My “Process”

19 Jan

Aaron had asked me a pretty straightforward question about my writing process, and it wasn’t until I really thought about it that I came to a pretty startling conclusion: I don’t have one. I mean, there are some similarities in my writing sessions – they’re almost entirely in my office, I don’t have a TV on when I write (anymore), and I use both hands when I type. That’s about it.

In the olden days where I didn’t have my own home office, I used to have a TV on. I always told myself, “If I know what’s happening on the TV, then I’m not paying attention to my writing.” This was true enough, and if I was in the zone, it didn’t matter if I had a burlesque donkey laser show in my room, I’d be paying attention to my writing alone. But why set yourself up for failure? Nowadays, I allow myself music, because almost everything I do is underscored by some tunes, but usually a playlist of mellow music, often instrumentals. It isn’t a detriment to my writing, and that’s key. I also try to set myself up with a Mountain Dew, but unfortunately in my older, wiser years, I know that drinking it as often as I’d like will result in premature disembowelment.

I don’t force myself to write for a certain time. When I did, it’s not like I’d be stuck and frustrated, but I’d churn out an awful lot of unreadable pages. So I write when I at least have a few ideas floating around, and but rarely with more than that. I seldom have even an idea where I want to end up in my stories, which is part of the fun. But I’ve found historically that I write BEST with deadlines and restrictions (I was once challenged to write and submit a play for a contest in two days that had to revolve around an animal, and produced one of my favorite plays ever Deadline. In fact, that version there is almost the exact thing I’d written in those two days, without many edits. That’s another reason this project seemed so fun – the speed.

I’m sure to write more on this topic later, but right now, everyone’s favorite new segment, Space Debris:

– I’m terrible at naming things. It’s always been my Achilles heel. Most of my most familiar works (Unusual Suspects, Everyguy) were named by other people. In fact, my nickname Esoderek was created by someone else (thanks Aaron!). So I still don’t have a title for my January story.

– Speaking of it, after I’d written it based on my cathartic moment, I sat away. Just thinking about what I’d written over the next few days, I felt disappointed, like the idea was cooler in my head than what I’d put down. I finally reread it this week while battling a stomach illness, and found I enjoyed it as much as I had hoped. Let’s hope it translates to other people.

– I’m going to be putting up a link at the month’s end to submit requests for copies of the “complete” short story each month. That way, I’m not risking putting it up online (though legally I’d be pretty safe to do so), but I’m still not having people read my progress here and not be able to see the results. Bye bye viewers (both of you).

– Aaron has mange.

– Oh, if you are reading this, comment on it. What do you want to see more of? What do you like/not like about the project? Or suggest monthly topics. While we’ll be coming up with our own topics for now, I don’t imagine either of us would outright reject suggestions of story topics from outside sources.


Posted by on January 19, 2012 in derek's writing


5 responses to “My “Process”

  1. Jaymar

    January 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I dig that both of you guys have unique perspectives about the process, and I think that’s the goal of the blog. What I’d like to get a better grasp of is what your both writing. I know you each have a topic every month, but how much direction are you taking? Is it just a sentence or two? Do they need to fit a genre or a length? I’m looking forward to seeing how you both evolve as writers here through the project, but I’d like to see you both dive more into the actual writing at hand- how much revision you do- where do you like to go with characters and dialogue… etc. I think it’ll be cool to not only see the thought process of your writing but also more of the actual evolution of it.

    Secondly- the stories you guys are writing are completely independent? Are you both trying to stick to a general theme or is the goal to get as much variety as possible (i.e. comedic focus vs. hardline mystery, etc.)

    Good luck with all of it fellas!

  2. esoderek

    January 19, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Part of the fun is we aren’t really communicating besides the beginnings about the stories themselves; we’re talking almost exclusively about the process. I have no idea if his story is comic or serious. Although it does lead me to address your point: if I don’t tell anyone what I’m specifically writing about, and keep being vague (to keep the “surprise” alive, I guess?) then nobody’s really going to care.

    It’ll be an interesting beam to balance – to not give away an entire story as you write it, but to still give some particulars so people can relate to what you’re talking about.

    Like the storywriting process itself, I think this blog will evolve as the project goes on.

  3. aaronsbell

    January 19, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    as far as i know the stories we are writing are completely independent. derek and i think alike, but hopefully not SO alike that our stories are the same. that, for me, is part of the excitement of this project – to see how we each tackle that month’s topic.

    i’m trying not to give too much away about my stories before (at the very least) derek gets a chance to read them. i am not really sure why, but i am wondering if i can hit a subject from a completely opposite direction than he does. i have a feeling i’ve done it this month.

    i may cry if we wrote the same story already.

  4. esoderek

    January 19, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    I guarantee you didn’t use the same character name I did: Portis Goolsby.

  5. aaronsbell

    January 19, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    oh … crap

    looks like i need to make some changes before i send you my story.


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