I wouldn’t be able to output the volume of literature I currently write [500+ words published daily] without my workflow process. I’ve covered my approach to resolving writer’s block in the “Overcoming Writer’s Block” thought piece. Let’s cover what happens when I have the semblance of an idea and how I go about turning that into a finished product. It’s not just about finding a random photo, writing for a bit, and calling it good enough.
Ideas happen frequently. It’s a matter of pinning ideas down.
Let’s say I have the rough idea for a short story inspired by the bygone era of Instant Messaging culture. Some smaller ideas develop in the weekly rowing column or within more viable articles as maybe a random sentence or two. If the idea can stand on its own, like “Losing Our AIM,” then when I get settled into my writing mindset, they’ll usually almost write themselves.
What happens when it’s not that easy?
I could go two one of two directions with this short story. I could use my pre-existing characters or make new ones. Jane and Sam are my usual stand-ins, since other than Jane being more serious and Sam rambling more, they just jam their way through my writing universe. They adapt depending on the role. They might do. They just don’t feel like the right fit.
If I’m stuck like that, I’ll work on other things.
The benefit of not pigeonholing yourself, as I wrote about in “Bettering Better Zombie, 03,” is that you can work on other things while leaving lingering ideas on the backburner. I like this idea because it’s a good chance to recreate memories of late 90s to early 00s Internet socializing. While I still have some anxious hesitation talking with new people, IM helped me along.
Let’s say the idea’s moving along. The writing’s flowing.
I make a new post and paste in my template with pre-formatted code. After filling in my template’s blanks, away I write. I usually write with restrictions. It’s been helpful for staying on topic and coaxes better word choices. I’ll either have strict limits of 75 words per paragraph or loose limits like 4.5 lines per paragraph. I’ll chain the paragraphs together with a sentence.
This paragraph-sentence structure inspires creativity.
I’m just as surprised during the writing process as my readers may be during the reading process with where my content could go. The “Bettering Better Zombie” series started as a way to write about what I’d learned writing daily. After borrowing an idea of having a diversified personality that wasn’t pigeonholed, this one morphed into indirectly tackling depression.
From that, I realized that IM story doesn’t have a solid statement.
Once I can grab onto something, like a good introductory or concluding thought, I can ride the writing wave, and sometimes discover the writing’s statement in the editing process. After all, this thought piece on writing won out against a follow-up to “Distracted Driving Laws.”
That one needs more thinking during gridlock traffic.