Writing Breakthrough

I’ve found my writing process. I’ve finally realized why writing draft after draft (never really finishing one of them) has been such a difficult process for me. I wasn’t customizing my process AROUND my writing or my creativity. I was simply just sitting down and trying to write. Basically, I was trying to force it out without giving it any room to breath or even spread its wings.

About three weeks ago, day 2 of my philosophy class to be exact, something struck in my mind that I just needed to write down before I lost it. A moment in a story I’ve been writing that is so far into the future that I haven’t even discovered or explored it yet. I grabbed a sheet of graph paper from the back of my binder and began writing. I wasn’t wary of writing neatly and horizontally, I just needed to write it down fast enough before it escaped my mind.

I ended up writing it diagonally: starting from the top left corner all the way down to the bottom right corner. While I was doing this, I kept thinking that I could always rewrite it on lined paper, neater and possibly more legible. But once I tried, I found myself getting a bit restless and agitated. I felt as if I was trying to tame this wildfire of inspiration that flared at a moments notice.

So I continued writing on graphed paper, diagonally, and scenes from ending, beginning, middle. In no complete order and no where near neat.

I was sitting in the library last week trying to figure out how to go about this new technique, trying to figure out what it is that had made my writing go haywire. I’ve written more in this story in the past three weeks than I have in the past eight months.

Well, this is what I came up with. My 3-step process.

  1. Graph paper is more freeing than lined paper. There is no need to write horizontally, from left to right. With Graph paper, I can make my own lines, my own structure. There is no chronology as to how the scenes progress. Like I said, I’ve skipped so far into this story that, as of right now, there is no middle. It’s so liberating I don’t even know how to explain it in a way that makes complete sense.
  2.  My journal has become the home of bullet points and cross-character backgrounds. Instead of trying to continue the story from where I left off, I simply bullet point the events in which I feel the story could go. When I add a new character, I dedicate a few pages to them and figure out what could have happened to them in their lives that made them cross with the main character, or just other characters. Rarely does this part of it make sense, either.
  3. Finally, I have my laptop. This is where I have to write chronologically- beginning, middle, end. It is a necessity. Right now, I only have the first draft of the beginning. I haven’t touched this in a few days since I can only seem to write the ending right now. This is where I add in the details, the five senses, and most of the dialogue.

To some, this may not be a process. This may just be three ways in which I found my writing groove, my comfort. This may not even be anything remotely interesting. I’ve been writing in such confining ways for a few years that I consider this a breakthrough in my writing. I consider this a victory.

It doesn’t entirely make sense to me, but it seems to work. So this is what I’ve been doing instead of studying during my free time at the library. I’m pretty sure I’m going to regret it during midterms and exams. But as of right now, I can’t seem to put my pen down.

-Sabrina

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