This is a post about writing. Because right now, I should be writing a paper for one of my classes. But instead, I want to write about writing that paper instead of actually writing it. Are we clear?
I suppose some people have their nice little processes of how to write a paper. For a few, they sit down for an hour, churn out something, turn it in. For another group, they calmly write an outline, then fill it in with words, look over it once, and turn it in.
I do not fit into either of those categories.
So, without further ado, Heather’s Guide to What She Does In-between and During Prewriting, Writing, Rewriting, Editing, and Tearing Up Pieces of Paper.
- Start early.
- Study what I am going to write about. Haphazardly. Miss the point the first time around.
- Attempt to outline and develop a thesis. End up with a notebook page paper full of random things that I never use again.
- Decide I don’t know what I’m talking about. Go back to text.
- Decide I finally have it. Start to write paper.
- After three paragraphs, decide I am very confused.
- Attempt to outline again.
- Decide I need to get a new approach.
- End up typing up eight pages of relevant quotes from the text.
- Attempt to write paper using these eight pages and the many conflicting outlines.
- Get halfway through and realize that my paper is a complete mess and is not making sense.
- Realize that I have deleted most of the eight pages of quotes. Recreate same eight pages.
- Print out quotes. Attack with scissors. Separate quotes into piles.
- Outline again by using those piles.
- Start writing again.
- Get three fourths of the way done and finally discover what I am trying to say.
- Go back and rework the whole essay.
- Finally get somewhat decent product.
- Become sick of paper.
- Run out of time.
- Hurry and print it out, hoping that there aren’t too many typos.
- Turn in paper.
- Get paper back. See grade.
- Move on with life.
And that is sort of my process. Though I do not follow it with all my papers. Sometimes, I end up writing a first draft that has absolutely no quotes and makes no sense whatsoever and isn’t relevant to the assignment. Sometimes, I actually end up having a halfway functional process. This is very rare.
I have to figure out twenty different ways how not to write a paper every time I attempt to write one.
But you know, this horribly complicated and random process manages to produce decent products.
Maybe I should have a follow up on how I prewrite/write/rewrite/edit/etc. for fiction. Tell me if you’re interested.
Edit: Suprisingly, I love to write, even with this very long and complicate process. I like figuring it out even when it takes a long time. I like what I do. It’s fun to struggle through it.