When people ask about my “writing process,” I long to give them the kind of answers I’ve heard from other writers.
Like, “I rise before dawn, eat a slice of whole-wheat bread with fig jam, and write for two hours. After that I go feed the chickens.” Or, “One thousand words and then I’m off to the gym!”
I admire these people beyond words, except for the words I just wrote here, but my process is a bit less structured than theirs. Like this.A brand new day! Let’s get cracking with chapter three of my mystery novel! But breakfast first. Damn, I’m out of Shredded Wheat. Okay, a quick run to the grocery store.
Home again. Oh God, the cat’s peed on the carpet again. Have I got any Urinoff? Or Anti-Icky-Poo? Okay, a quick run to the pet-supply store.
Why am I the kind of person who has to buy products with names like “Urinoff” and “Anti-Icky-Poo” instead of, like, shopping for a yacht?
Now to dump this product on the stain … blot it … try not to step in it … why does the cat have to pee in front of the bathroom door? She is a terrible, horrible animal and I’m going to take her back to the shelter and tell them — oh, hello, Luna! You need food? Of course, darling. Wet or dry?
Okay, that’s the cat sorted. Where was I? Chapter three. Though I should just check Twitter … hey, new followers! … wow, this looks interesting – and this … and I should tweet that thing I read in The New Yorker yesterday. Or was it on people.com? Better check them both.
It’s only eleven-fifteen. Why am I so hungry? Oh. I forgot to eat breakfast. I’ll just wash my hands first. [steps, barefoot, in the product-soaked cat pee in front of the bathroom door] Damn that cat! Right after breakfast, straight back to the shelter!
What am I going to do about cover art for my book? Though if I get conventionally published, I won’t need to worry about cover art, so maybe I should stop worrying about cover art.
I should update my blog, though. What can I write about? Why don’t I have a more interesting life? Maybe I should pretend to have one for the sake of my blog posts. “Flying first-class on a diplomatic mission to Borneo recently, I happened to be sitting between Elizabeth Warren and Queen Latifah, and a fascinating conversation ensued … ”
Do you sit between people in first class? Don’t they have, like, individual pods or something? Why am I the kind of person who never gets to sit in first class?
[Boring interlude in which some laundry gets done]
Why am I so hungry? Good Lord, it’s three-thirty. I guess I should eat some lunch.
[Boring interlude in which breakfast and lunch dishes get washed]
Okay. Blog post. Or, no. Chapter three.
What am I going to have for dinner? Why didn’t I think of dinner when I was in the grocery store buying Shredded Wheat?
Chapter three, Rhiannon. NOW.
Wait, what happened in chapter two? I’ll just read it to refresh my –
What’s that, Luna? More food? Of course, sweetheart. I’ll re-open the can for you.
So there it is: my writing process. Feel free to emulate. For total accuracy, though, you’ll need the cat. Come get her any time. I’ll throw in her carrier and a large container of Anti-Icky-Poo.