Some Thoughts on Process

It's the question all of us want to know from other writers: how do you do what you do?

When I was younger, I had a more singular vision of what being a writer meant for my life. (Basically that everything else would be excluded, save for the act of writing.) This approach failed not only me, but this limited approach also failed my writing. Writing, however, would never let me quit, although I've tried many times.  So I went the other direction and became a writer who lives and works versus a working writer. 

What I do now is wake up early before my family has need of me, and I put in what I can before I have to get ready for work. That's pretty much it. I spend the majority of my writing time revising; in fact, composing--the drawing down of raw sentences from the fuzz in my mind--accounts for very little of my actual writing time. I know composing happens; there wouldn't be anything to revise if it didn't. Revision, though, is where it's at. That's the craft. That's why I do what I do.

The act of writing is a spiritual practice. Writing is not only the means for my understanding the world around me, and my understanding myself, it's my mindfullness practice. (Which I recognize is contradictory, because if a Buddhist out there is going to pick nits, that Buddhist might call me out by saying that writing fiction is the least present-minded activity there is - it's all fantasy and dreams and memory. And that Buddhist would be right, and I would shut up, but that Buddhist isn't here right now, so I win.)

Anyway, the act of writing is something I must do. I will always find a way to do it. I am here to serve the stories and novels, and I do the best I can (fail better, right?). The process is getting up every day to do the work, re-working the work, finishing the work, and, well, beginning again. No mysteries. Very little romance or glory. Just practice.