Writing is a deeply personal affair. For some it comes naturally and easily, and for others, it is a time-consuming and distressing affair. Everyone writes in their own way, and I’d like to give you a glimpse into my writing process.
If you asked someone to write you a story about a man who saves a dog, no person on earth would write the same story. Because writing is so personal, we all have our own quirks and methods for starting and going through the writing process.
In sharing the steps of my own writing process, I hope to show you all something deeply personal about me and perhaps even inspire you all to reflect on your own habits or even adopt some of mine!
You will never find me writing in the study lounges of the The Hill’s dorms or in the futuristic pods of Young Research Library. Writing begins with me and it begins in my room. I find that public locations are too loud for me to properly focus on essays and creative writing. I get distracted by soft whispers and not-so-soft whispers alike. My ears instinctively try to reach closer so that I can hear more of what Becky did to Sarah’s boyfriend last week. To avoid such complications, I seek the white plastic of my IKEA desk, the new leather of my AmazonBasics office chair, and the beautiful faces of pop-idols plastered on the walls of my room.
I eat many times a day. I often tell people it’s because I’ve read somewhere that eating multiple small meals a day trumps eating three large meals in the same timespan because it promotes greater weight loss. I don’t know if it’s true; I just like food. Sitting beside me on my desk is often a cup of tea. I only drink Jasmine or Chrysanthemum – none of that lemon or strawberry flavored, milk-infused with hibiscus leaves garbage. Snacks are light. The presence of sugar cereals like Honey Nut Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch is not uncommon. I believe that to have a high-functioning brain, you have to have a satisfied tummy.
There’s something about paper and pencil that keeps me coming back to it. Whenever I annotate poems for critical analysis papers or jot down the first lines of my poetry, it is always handwritten. The feel of writing on paper, the look of my words as they appear on the page; something about it appeals to me. More practically, I sometimes end up migrating from my desk to my bed, so writing in my small notebook is much more convenient than using my laptop while in a supine position. Of course, preliminary brainstorming aside, I write the bulk of my works on the computer in Word. I often start off with a font called Helvetica Light or Thin, because Times New Roman makes me shudder. I focus on the meat of the work, doing nitty-gritty things like formatting at the end.
Writing is personal because no two people are alike. Although you may share one or two similar steps in your own writing process, no doubt yours is not identically like mine. Just like how we are not alike, our writing processes are not alike, and the things we write are not alike. That is the beauty in writing.