What a strange word…process. Like so many of our strange English words, it has many meanings and uses. It can be a verb; to process the mail. It can have a legal meaning which can mandate a court appearance. It can mean an outgrowth or projection, like the process of a bone. It can be a noun meaning a continuous series of actions; the process of decay; the process of evolution.
But the other noun meaning is what my fellow writer meant when he asked me “What’s your process?” That dictionary meaning is “a systematic series of actions directed to some end.” In other words, what is my process for writing; a novel, a tune, a blog? Good question. I had to think for a minute but realized “my process” was always the same.
Be alone. Be quiet. Move my fingers on the keys. That’s the easy part; forced discipline. The hard part is to make the fingers form words, ideas, and a direction.
Sometimes my brain is too wired and I can’t think of something to write about in this blog. I play a dozen games of “spider” and suddenly my brain is empty and ripe for new ideas.
Sometimes I scream inwardly.
I am so lucky to have these hours of my life to write. I’m in awe of those writers who have a full time job and have the discipline to add writing hours to an already busy day. I wish I had wanted to write years ago when I spent a few nights every week for 20 years in a motel somewhere in California, Hawaii or Nevada. I think most people feel they have a “book” buried somewhere in their brain and “hope” they get time to write it someday. I felt the same. I had the time then, but didn’t use it.
But there are no excuses now. I’m retired and I have the time and the desire. That’s my process.
As far as planning to write a novel, that process of planning is different for everyone. For the three novels I have completed, and currently editing and re-writing, I did them all the same. I do not make an outline. I do not have any idea where my characters will take me. I have some basic characters in a given situation but I have no idea where the story will lead me or how the hell I will end it. But I do. Every night I go to bed I’m planning to dream about my characters. I talk to them before I doze off. I tell them, “Please, kill somebody or get laid, I need some action tomorrow.”
I’m happy to report my characters listen to me and respond accordingly. Hopefully in the next few months I will give you a chance to check out my first novel, “Barstow Blues.” Stay Tuned!