Friday, November 17, 2017

Adele Graf : writing process

Are you sure you want to be reading this? We’re all busy and always looking for pockets of time to work on our writing. Um, this is about my own particular writing process. Are you sure it’s a good use of your time to read it?

Fellow writers tell me that they take their writing time “off the top,” first thing in the morning. Or that they can’t wait to go on the next writers’ retreat, where they always get so much good writing done. Or that they love writing in Starbucks, with the hubbub of voices or conversations they overhear around them.

I’m happy that they’ve found what works for them. But what does it tell me about my own process?? We’re each a combination (victim?) of our metabolism, our upbringing, our introvert-extrovert quotient and the list goes on.

I happen to be a zombie in the morning and a powerhouse writer late at night. I need to snack every couple of hours, but only on certain foods. My energy drops at 4 pm. Can you relate to any of this?

I like to spread papers around me while I write, but in tidy piles I can identify. My imagination spills into my writing when my study is orderly. When it’s a mess, I can’t think. Can you?

I don’t write well under pressure, or in groups, so get almost nothing out of writers’ retreats. My best place to write is at home. When my brain goes blank from hours of writing, I can start cooking supper. Then back to my study, ready to write again. And – you guessed it, I’m an introvert who loves absolute silence for writing. A quiet house. A closed door.

I won’t take up any more of your time, except to mention one part of my writing process that might possibly be of general interest.

I try to have lots of writing projects, at various stages, on the go at once. That way, however much time, energy or brainpower I happen to have at any particular time of day, there’s always something I can do. Start a new draft, expand something recent, revise something new or older, edit, proofread, submit to a journal. And of course, read what others have written. But really, that’s just the way it works for me.

Adele Graf’s first poetry collection, math for couples (Guernica Editions), was published  in April 2017. Her first chapbook, a Baltic Friday early in grey (above/ground press), in August 2017. Her poetry has appeared in The Antigonish Review, CV2, The Dalhousie Review, EVENT, The Fiddlehead, Room and Vallum. She lives in Ottawa.

photo credit: Ed Overstreet

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