My mom told me to clean my room 40 years ago.
I was thinking about getting around to it today.
When I graduated from high school, my goal was to go to vocational school and learn to be a hair dresser. I wanted to cut hair for a living.
Because I am me, I put off registering until the last minute. I couldn’t get into the hair dressing class because it was full. Data processing, however, was wide open.
My career path was decided. I would take the class that still had open slots.
I am here to help.
I am going to explain my writing process to you and this process can help you in a multitude of ways. You can apply it to blogging, memoirs, short stories, shitty anonymous letters to your boss, or grocery lists.
One of the most important things you can do is to create a comforting and inviting environment which welcomes you into it’s warm, supportive embrace. Free yourself from distractions. Immerse yourself into a world that exists only for you. Your words are waiting to be freed.
For example, as I write this, I have assumed my usual awkward position on my bed. I am laying across my unmade bed, on my side, with no head support. Randy is playing music in his office across the hall. His music is competing with Supernatural which I dialed up on Netflix for background noise.
Make sure your mind is clear. I am clearing my mind right now by drinking bourbon. But you pick the method that works best for you.
Understand that setbacks are part of the process. You can’t be perfect the first time through. Even on grocery lists. For instance, I always forget lemons.
That’s kind of a lie. I do always forget the lemons, that part is true. The lie is that we never work off a list. We wing it. We forget the shit we need. We buy shit we don’t need and then we wonder where all our money is going. I’ll tell you where it’s going. It’s invested in scented candles and produce that will turn into produce soup in the crisper drawer.
But I digress.
I tried my hand at fiction and entered a contest. Short fiction. Under 1000 words. I worked my ass off on this story. I was proud of this story. The participants were divided into groups and given parameters to work within. I had to write a ghost story. I love ghost stories and I was all over it.
15 people in each group were awarded points.
I was not one of them.
So, you know, setbacks.
Here’s the thing to remember, though. Just because you can’t be in the top 15 does not mean you should give up.
No. You should not.
Just because you failed at writing fiction, when fiction isn’t something you fucking write, doesn’t mean you should give up. That’s dumb.
Before I write a blog post or work on the book or write out imaginary arguments with people from 30 years ago, I like to sit back and allow my thoughts to wash over me. I accept them and I allow them to be.
I would like to help you do the same. I will share my thoughts as an example:
Oh for fuck’s sake.
Seriously, what the fuck are you doing?
Dean is so fucking hot.
You will never get beyond mediocre/not bad. Seriously. That is the best you can hope for.
So, what then? You want to just give up? Quit? Then what are you going to do? There isn’t anything else to do that is as good and you know it. Stop whining. You’re being a twat.
Okay, you had that one idea for the book. Write it down before you forget it.
That was pretty good, actually.
I am goddamn David Sedaris.
Whoa there, skippy. Did you forget the whole ‘didn’t even break the top 15’ thing?
Sammy is pretty fucking hot, too.
I wonder what Billy Idol is doing right this second?
Don’t start fucking choking now. Yes, sending the book proposal for the second time is nerve wracking, but you cannot continue to pretend like it doesn’t exist. You’re in the home stretch.
It’s better this time.
It still sucks.
We can do this all night, or you can write a fucking blog post, jingle brains.
So, there. It feels good to just let it all out, doesn’t it?
Anyway, that is my writing process. The words in my head vary, but this is a fairly inclusive sampling.
Another suggestion I have: don’t fly by the seat of your pants with every single writing project. I am positive this is good advice because that is what I have been doing for five years now. I am sure there are multiple benefits to planning and organizing.
Okay, fine. I don’t just fly by the seat of my pants writing, I do that with my whole life. And it’s been longer than five years.
I have some work to do on the chapter I’m sending, but I’m close to sending my proposal back to the agent. Y’all, I am so afraid to do this. What if I don’t get even 15th place again?
I’ll post the ghost story I submitted in a few days. I want at least a few people besides me and Randy to read it.