Since this is one of those questions writers get asked a lot (e.g. What is your writing process?), I suppose I should punctuate it thusly: The Writers’ Process.
Aside: I guest blogged on another one of those questions last week at http://cindysamplebooks.com/2012/09/where-do-ideas-come-from/ and found out that writers DO like to answer that particular question. End of Aside.
Maybe some like to answer this one, too, but not me! I don’t even know what it means. To me, processes apply to things like fees (processing fees) and film development. When I saw this definition at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/process, my confusion lifted a bit.
1. a systematic series of actions directed to some end: todevise a process for homogenizing milk.
2. a continuous action, operation, or series of changes takingplace in a definite manner: the process of decay.
3. Law .
a. the summons, mandate, or writ by which a defendant orthing is brought before court for litigation.
b. the whole course of the proceedings in an action atlaw.
4. Photography . photomechanical or photoengraving methodscollectively.
5. Biology, Anatomy . a natural outgrowth, projection, orappendage: a process of a bone.
|Process diagram, public domain from Wikicomons|
See, these things are systematic and orderly. One is even continuous. For me, writing is not like that. Not a bit like that.
If I’m going to write a flash piece, I can sit down and write it. Then I can leave it until I remember about it again, then rework it. Repeat a few times and submit it somewhere. I’m not sure that could be considered a process.
For a longer length short story, I can think up an idea and start to go with it until I hit a snag. Then I either go off and do research that I may or may not need or use. Some time later I come back to it, if I still think it might work, and wrassle with it some more. When it seems done, I have to step away for a day or more. At least one more rewrite, maybe lots of rewrites, then if it still looks decent, I’ll submit it somewhere. This is too messy to be called a process.
Novels? Process? I do a first draft. During that time, which may be several months to a year, I quit a lot. I vow to write on it every day. I break that vow within a week. I make a vow to work on it 5 days a week. I break that vow the next week. I decide when I want to be finished and figure out how many words a day I need to write. That sometimes works.
This is all after or amongst the plotting “process”. I have actually evolved one of those after attempting to write 8 novels. It’s pretty involved and may be the subject of another blog post.
After the first draft, I begin edits. I have a loose procedure for this, too, and, again, a time deadline works well to keep me on track. That, too, may be a blog post. (Hey, I’m developing a process for generating blog post topics, at least.)
Stay tuned for the next developments in processes. Meanwhile, do YOU have process? Do you know what a writing process is?