The Writing Process, aka I Just Shart a Vlog

I have been wanting to do this for a week now, but for an unemployed person, I have been busy as hell the last week or two.

Also, did you know it’s really, really hard to make a video when your only tools are Audacity and Windows Movie Maker Live on a 5-year-old PC? Because it is motherfucking impossible. Also, I didn’t eat anything. At all. I sat on my couch and toggled things, and dreamed about a world in which I had money and time and a program that doesn’t just arbitrarily decide my audio files don’t work anymore so let’s restart the whole thing and keep our fingers crossed it all cues up in the right order without any data lost because there is no EASY way to cut this or save this or do much of ANYTHING, in fact, and also, could I eat my own fingers? Would those be sustaining and delicious in the right sort of sauce?

…so anyway, I made this idiotic video. There’s like five frames in it where I’m making out with my boyfriend. I don’t know if that works for or against me here.

Even though I’m poking fun (poorly; so, so poorly) at the writing process, it does contain a grain of truth with which most writers will already be familiar: it is impossible to just sit down and goddamn write something good. Or even something bad. Or anything at all.

There are always distractions — especially if you’re the kind of person who has loads of interests and hobbies (e.g. “a good writer”). Sometimes you’re tired, sometimes you’re busy, sometimes you’re just fucking bored with the stupid assignment. Sometimes you just don’t wanna. The litany of excuses is long and glorious, but half-assed or not, they pose real obstacles to the process of actually creating something. This holds true whether you’re a freelancer or have a full-time professional writing gig: words come when they’re damn well ready, and if they’re not damn well ready, you have to drag them out kicking and screaming and digging their obstinate little meat hooks into the orbits of your eyes, your deadlines and desires be damned.

<pause to allow you to go read Wikipedia or jerk off or draw boobs on your meeting notes or whatever>

There is no telling what mood or frame of mind will be most conducive to writing. Obviously, everyone has their own rituals and preferred environments and so on, but sometimes your best efforts don’t amount to anything. If I get a week to write 500 words, you can pretty much count on them all spilling out in the last three hours of the last day of that week. But every once in a while, I’ll get a spark of something even when I’m not supposed to be writing anything at all, and if I’m feeling really diligent, I’ll set that idea aside, and have it ready at an opportune moment — in which case I will feel like a fucking superhero.

What matters is that you get your shit done, and that you at least leave yourself enough time to revise it enough that it doesn’t suck. For me, the second and third drafts of a project are much easier to manage and focus on: the angst is over, the ideas are on the page. Now all I have to do is organize and refine them. Piece of cake.

Your mileage may vary. But I suspect most of you are like me. Don’t be ashamed! We can all be fucked up together.

Now stop reading and go get yourself some ice cream or something. You’ve earned it. All that not-working is hard work, am I right?



  1. Well done!!!! Well done!!! (yes, I said that twice, but, damn, it was well done!).

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