How Do You Work Best?

Note: A short time after I posted this, I realized I’d already published it here with a different title.  I was going to take it down, but I received a comment or two immediately and decided to keep it up.  In the interim, I had the opportunity to read an article about something very similar, which bears out — and says better and in more detail — what I was trying to express.  The article can be found at NPR.com.  Look for the title ‘In a Digital Chapter, Paper Notebooks are as Relevant as Ever’ from May 27, 2015.  Be sure to read the comments, too!

Do you have or utilize different writing/creative processes for the different genres in which you write?

When I write poetry, for instance, I have to start and finish the first draft in longhand. Once I start refining a poem, I can do it on the computer – though it always seems better when I stick to pen and paper – but it always has to start with the physical process. The pen has to channel my images and thoughts onto paper. And I need silence. Lots and lots of silence, and no distractions.

When I write fiction, I usually start that same way, but then I can easily go to the computer or go back and forth between the two as I craft the final product. Again I need silence for this, but there can be the (very) occasional and short-lived distraction.

Creative non-fiction is the easiest to compose on the computer, for some reason. And I can work on something with other things going on around me.

I’ve always been intrigued at these differences. So here’s the question: How do you work best in your various genres and why?

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2 thoughts on “How Do You Work Best?

  1. I feel like my process is constantly changing. Sometimes a certain approach will work well, and then the next time I try it, it doesn’t. It’s frustrating to always have to rethink the way I work, but I guess it’s just one of those things I have to accept.

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    1. I can understand the frustration, but I think it says a lot about you that you’re flexible enough to work without the constraints of ‘process’ only. It took me a good while before I could utilize the computer for anything other than final drafts — maybe some of that is my advanced age! — but it’s gotten easier over the years and I keep trying. So good on you that you can work with various approaches!

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