Creativity Writing
Charlotte Rains Dixon  

The Writing Process Redux

471px-Venn_diagram_cmyk.svg Every week my family gets together with my sister's family for dinner. We instituted this after my Mom died last year as a way to make sure that we all see each other regularly.  It has been a wonderful thing, and we guard our Sunday Supper time zealously.

Last night at Sunday Supper, in between everyone taking bets on when the son-in-law would finally arrive on his long drive home from the army in Texas, my brother-in-law asked me if I'd read the latest Time magazine.  When I said no, seeing as how I don't subscribe to Time, he said I absolutely had to read the interview with Elmore Leonard and found the magazine for me.

Besides marveling at the fact that Leonard has lived in Detroit since 1934, and still doesn't use a computer or email, the one thing my brother-in-law wanted to point out to me was when Leonard  said this: "You've got to write every day."

Where have we heard that before?  Why, perhaps right in these very posts.

I started off this morning intent on writing about the writing process.  I'm not sure why, since I wrote about it fairly recently, hence the word "redux" in the title.  (And even if I hadn't written about the writing process before I would have used that word, because, let's face it, redux is a great word.)

But then I started thinking about the Elmore Leonard article and his commandment to write every day.  And then, after I pondered some more (the very strong coffee I'm drinking helped), I realized that I what I needed to write about today is the intersection of the writing process and writing every day.  If I could draw a Venn diagram, it would be the place in the middle where the two circles meet.

Because writing every day, no matter what stage of the writing process you are in, is what makes your dreams happen.  Whether you are writing a rough draft, or working on one of many rewrites, writing every day helps you to stay connected to your work, and keep the momentum going.  Plus, it reminds you that you are a writer, which is easy to forget in this busy world.  And I find that if I've done the most important thing first, ie, writing, that everything else falls into place.

So, writing every day + the writing process = finished products.

Now, here's the question of the day.  In my search for an image of a Venn diagram, I found the above on Wikipedia.  However, it has three circles, when my example only has two, the writing process and writing every day.  So, say we named this Venn diagram The Writing Life, what would you name the third circle?

17 thoughts on “The Writing Process Redux

  1. janet

    not sure what my third circle would be, but i like the word redux, too.

  2. janet

    duh. social media…isn’t that the other thing i do? i clearly haven’t had enough coffee yet this monday morning ;)

  3. Marion

    Love this. The third circle would either be that strong coffee you mention, or perhaps the sash some of us employ to tie ourselves in the chair. Just saying.

  4. Charlotte Dixon

    Janet, Glad you love the word redux, too…and social media is a good third circle!

    Marion, Since my sash seems to be untied at the moment, I’ll vote for strong coffee any day!

  5. Charlotte Dixon

    Don, I love the way you related writing every day to our Sunday suppers, that’s perfect. I also love the idea of the third circle being the writer’s dream or goal. Awesome!

  6. Jeffrey Tang

    Since circle A is daily writing (a habit), and circle B is the writing process (a technique or tool), I’d have to say that circle C would be drive, passion, motivation.

    If you write only at the intersection of habit and motivation, you end up with pages of fervent but sloppy prose. At the intersection of motivation and process, you find uneven progress and a sense of being overwhelmed. At the intersection of habit and process, you get things done but lack joy.

    So the sweet spot is in the middle, where you have the motivation to start, the habit to pace yourself, the process to guide you, and the passion to keep you going.

  7. Charlotte Dixon

    Jeffrey, Wow. The sweet spot is indeed motivation and passion and it is vital to our writing, so I totally agree with you that it deserves circle C.

  8. Patty - Why Not Start Now?

    Juicy question, Charlotte. I don’t think the third circle is about writing at all. I think it’s about life. Getting out, being in it. Walking. Experiencing. Using your senses to smell, touch, taste, etc. Observing life. I don’t exactly have a word for it. But without the “experiencing life every day” part, it seems to me that writing every day and the writing process fall a little flat. And I love your story about Sunday dinner. Perfect example of experiencing life!

  9. Charlotte Dixon

    Patty, Great answer! I’m starting to think that we need a Venn diagram with lots of circles because I agree with every commenter. I guess it just goes to show you how complex writing is as a practice.

  10. Don

    Writing everyday is like your weekly Sunday dinner, a type of guarantee that you won’t forget the big picture, or what’s really important. in the case of writing, I really don’t know what I would call the third circle, but maybe the ‘writer’s dream’, because it’s the dream that helps you to keep writing everyday. Of course, you could easily call it the ‘the writer’s goal’, it’s all pretty much the same thing, but at least that’s what I would call it anyway. Not sure of anyone else, though?

  11. gt281

    The third circle represents ‘editing’, whether it’s in the minds’ eye or on the whitened page, a never ending cycle of polishing the apple. The proverbial snake eating its own tail.

  12. Elizabeth

    I was thinking the same thing about life that Patty wrote because so much of writing (or mine at least) is triggered by every day life, by simply living. These answers are amazing. They make me think. Hm. Maybe “thinking” could be that third circle (or another related circle).

  13. Suzanne Peters

    I’d call the third circle “Filling the Well” – a la Julia Cameron. It’s the input that fuels the whole process — reading, getting out like Patty said, taking times for ourselves, doing workshops, learning, all the processes that feed us, nurture us and our creativity.

  14. Charlotte Dixon

    gt281, Elizabeth, Suzanne, Thanks for the great additions to the commentary. I’m so interested by all of the great ideas people are coming up with for the third circle! And I’m very glad that I didn’t commit to choosing just one, because that would be hard.

  15. DYoung

    Circle C for me, is life. It’s what reflects in my writing. It’s what either helps me or hinders me. That just depends on what I allow.

  16. Charlotte Dixon

    D’Young, Ah life, that which distracts and delights, offers us something to write about and prevents us from writing. Good one.

  17. […] Writing velocity focuses on process, not […]

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