While working on the story I started last month, I inserted a skunk in a room full of pre-adolescent girls at a birthday party. This comes near the end. I mean, is there really a better way to begin a story than with a skunk in the kitchen?
Here is what my writing process looks like so far this summer:
1. Open a document. Start a story.
2. Start the story in a different spot. Write for a page.
3. Skip ahead to a different part of the story. Write another page. Half of it is bold notes to self.
4. Open another word document. Name it [nameoforiginaldocument] 2. Start the story again. Or start another scene from the story.
5. Don’t write for two days.
6. Reopen second document and repeat step 3 here.
Feel free to write these steps on pieces of paper, stick them in a bowl, shake them up, and draw them out in whatever order.
The sad thing is that this is what my writing process in general looks like anymore. Apply pressure in the form of a deadline and it still looks like this, just condensed. It feels icky and stagnant, and while I am resigned to the fact that I won’t always (or even often) be carried off by the muse, that writing is in factwork, I am worried that my stories will read like icky, stagnant things.
But I keep writing. I even keep writing the same stories. And about skunks.
I love writing because it is the unfolding of Story beneath your hands. This is why writing matters. Because of Story. That burning moment you can touch with words. It is nice to have that feeling while you’re writing, but it is the achievement of it in the end that matters.