Recently I was reading through my copy of The Writer’s Path by Todd Walton and Mindy Toomay and found a list of questions about my creative process; as I started considering them, I realized I’ve never given much thought to what kind of writer I am. Sure I write in many genres, I keep a blog, but do I have a particular way of creating that helps me get my juices flowing? This is the first time I’ve tried to define myself in this manner, and my responses have given me a new focus. I hope they give you some insight into my creative journey and, if you’re a creative person of any type, inspire you to think of your own path.
1. What time of day is most conducive to your word flow?
I am not a morning person at all and I envy anyone who can write anything coherent before 10:00 a.m. I find myself scribbling notes and ideas off and on all day, but after 8:00 p.m. I tend to get my second wind. Then I can take all the day’s random thoughts and organize them into something resembling at least a first draft, if not a finished piece.
2. Where do you like to do your writing?
I used to try and write on my lunch break, but found that I really wasn’t able to be productive in the time frame I had. Instead, I find that I do my best writing at either the library or Barnes and Noble. When I am surrounded by books, I seem to find my focus easier. At home, I use my lap desk and curl up on my end of the sofa; when I’m comfortable and completely free of stress, my writing flows.
3. Do you feel uninhibited when you write?
I think it entirely depends on whether I’m creating a fiction piece or writing in my journal. Fiction comes pretty easily unless I’m writing on a controversial topic, which can make me write more carefully. An example of this would be a piece I want to write about the Russian black widow suicide bombers of a few years ago. One was a 17 year old and while I felt moved by her plight, I couldn’t figure out how to write about it without sounding sympathetic to terrorists, so I haven’t written about it. I have specific rules in regards to journal writing so that anyone can read them in the future without finding any bad stuff about family. Within those confines, I’m pretty uninhibited.
4. Have you found a pen you love the feel of?
I love pretty much any pen that isn’t a ballpoint, but my favorite pens are my fountain pens. Of those, my Lamy Safari and my vintage Sheaffer Touchdown are my favorites. Of the rollerball pens I use, my favorite is the Uniball Signo Impact 207 bold point.
5. Do you prefer to write in a notebook or on loose pages?
I never really thought about it, but a notebook is better because the pages can’t run away from me like loose ones can.
6. Is your writing time sacrosanct?
Not really. There are months where I don’t write much at all and sometimes I can’t write fast enough. I just go with the flow. Hard and fast rules ruin the fun.
7. Do you have a ritual for beginning your writing sessions?
Not exactly. It depends on if I’m writing with my husband or not. If we’re writing together, I usually start my session by brainstorming with him, especially if I’m stuck on something. If I’m by myself, I usually just pull out a notebook and go for it.
8. What do you enjoy the most about writing?
The solitude, the ability to do something most of my friends can’t do and the feeling of success when I’ve finished something.
9. Why do you want to write?
So I’ll be remembered after I’m gone.
10. What are the most difficult parts of the writing process for you? How do you deal with them?
Turning off my internal editor long enough to get a rough draft written is the most difficult part of the creative process. I just try to tune her out and write without stopping.
11. Do you think of yourself as a particular kind of writer? Is your self-definition satisfying?
I used to just consider myself a poet, but as time has passed and I’ve branched out, I consider myself to be an “all around” writer. As my blog grows, I’ve begun writing more personal essays and I’ve recently written a play. I like my self-definition. I don’t want to pigeon hole myself into any one category.
12. Do you set goals for yourself? Why?
Sometimes I’ll try to write a certain number of pages or for a certain amount of time. It keeps me motivated.
13. Who are you writing for? One other person? An imagined audience? A known audience? Yourself?
I think it really depends on what I’m writing. Any first draft is just for myself, and the romantic poetry I write is only for my husband. The majority of my writing goes to the known audience that reads my blog.
How about you, fellow readers? How would the creative ones among you answers some of these questions?