Friday, February 26, 2010

My Process is Broken... Can I Borrow Yours?

Everybody's process is different. PC writes at home at her desk with her shoes on. Instigator writes best in the bathtub with her alphie. Angel and PM take field trips and write in coffee shops and bookstores when they get the chance. Me... I write at work.


I know. Honestly, its a weird process that has developed out of necessity. I spend most of my day at the computer. My work load is adequate, but I'm very good with time management and I usually get my stuff done pretty quickly. A lot of my work is 'hurry up and wait' while I send stuff out for review and such. So, with my free time, I started working on my books. Some people can write with Hannah Montana music in the background, while keeping one ear on dinner and the other on the laundry. I can't even imagine. However I can write with the constant interruptions of the phone, emails, IMs, and the occasional engineer standing in my doorway asking me questions. I do pretty well, actually.

But all good things come to an end. My job sort of disintegrated while I was on vacation and I ended up working on a new program in a new building with all new people (except my boss, who moved me with her and is awesome). The environment is... different. My old program was mature with lots of documented processes and procedures. This one is 2 months old and we've got nothing in place. There's lots of scrambling. Lots of pressure to get all our initial contract award deliverables in place (like 100). Its chaos. Interesting. Different. But chaos. Makes me a little twitchy to be honest.

I also have... and officemate. I haven't had a roomie in years - like 2001. He's a nice enough guy - a recently discharged Air Force weather specialist who's working part time and going to school. He's got a funny sense of humor. He tolerates my quirks, which is great. It isn't a bad pairing. Its just... that if he turns around he can see my computer screen. And it makes me paranoid. I hardly have time to write anymore, but even if I did, I'm nervous about trying.

So I'm busting out of my process. I've been writing some at home in the evenings, but I'm curious as to what my other options are. What about you? What's your writing process? If you don't write, how have you bounced back from having your schedule messed with?



Jean said...

My process changes, Mornings, afternoons, in between. There was a time that I was so afraid I'd lose the words in my head that I wrote longhand while sitting in front of the school waiting for the kid.

I think what matters is you are a writer--and a good one. Your process might be broken but you will find your way to another one, because that's what you do. When our noses are stuffy, we breath through our mouths because we have to have air. I have learned, however, when one process truly doesn't work anymore to stop trying to fix it and find a new one. I used to feel like I had to earn the right to write by not sitting down until my housework was done. I've gotten past that.

Stephanie said...

Ummmm, my process is a LOT different from most...but it works very well for me...My writing partner actually does most of our writing and I am mostly an ideas gal. That said I get many great ideas in shower or driving-probably because in both of those situations there are fewer distractions than my life normally has.

Problem Child said...

Only non-fiction requires shoes. I'm actually learning to write almost anywhere -- I wrote a couple of pages in the parking lot of the Dollar General last week because they were showing my house! I'm growing!

Remember though, that adjustments to your process take time. So don't get frustrated!

(Do we need to review some process respecting tips?)

Instigator said...

You'll find your way to a new process. Try working some at night. Try waking up early a couple days and see how that feels. Try writing on the weekends. And I bet once things get settled at the new job you'll be able to get some done there again too. You just moved...let the dust settle a little before you panic. :-)

For me, the process also changes with each book. Up until recently I'd been writing at the office with 'conference table time' but this last book wasn't having any of that. I had to write the first draft at home in the bathtub. *shrugs* You do whatever works.


Maven Linda said...

When it comes to writing, I don't deal well with changes to my surroundings. I once moved my desk from one wall to another, and couldn't write a word for two weeks. But I've learned. I've adjusted. If the power is out, I can work on the Alphie. I can work up in the mountains. One thing I CANNOT do, though, is work with someone else in the room. If you can't, you can't. Circumstances may change, but for now you have to deal with what is, rather than what was. So sit down at home, write a paragraph or two, then go do something else. Do that every night. You'll gradually train your brain to recognize that as writing time, and the barricade will fall.

Playground Monitor said...

I don't know that I can offer anything that's not been mentioned already. I used to have to write everything in longhand and then enter into the computer. I got past that with practice (and NaNoWriMo).

I agree with Instigator that everything at work is still new. Maybe your process isn't broken. Perhaps it's still packed in a moving box or filed in the wrong drawer or waiting for the dust to settle.

Linda Winstead Jones said...

You'll find a way. On a legal pad during lunch; at night; weekends; get up at 4. Yes, in the morning. :-) Don't hit me!

Since my process seems to be different with every book, change is actually a part of the process.


Magnolia said...

I prefer to start writing about 8 in the evenings and write until midnight.

I hate it when something throws me off my process.

I would suggest that you get a handheld tape recorder and keep it handy in your pocket. Go for a walk during your lunch break-if it's too cold outside walk the halls-hide out in the bathroom-and in that recorder, verbally write out your next scene, chapter etc.

Every time your office roomie steps out-coffee-potty break, whip out your recorder.

Then when you get home, type it up.

Those little hand held tape recorders are also great for recording story ideas or scenes while you're driving and can't write them down.

Christine said...

Right now I am in "snatch it in snippets" mode due to darling hubby being home. I write a bit here and there whenever I can -- I am not worrying about gorgeous writing--just laying down the plot and filling gaps. Seems to be working for me--but I am sure my CPs will be LIKE WHAT THE HECK? I'm basically sending the whole mess off at the end of next week and saying: don't read for grammar/word tics/redundant phrases. Do read for plot direction and holes. Do give me ideas about how to fix my big ol' mess next time through the MS.

So sad. But it works for me. I just keep layering and not worrying about the beautiful outcome. Can't. No time. But I am fast. This process forces me to focus on story issues and work hard.

Good luck. Getting your life turned upside down is not easy when you're writing.

I consider writing my escape from the man on the walker ;)

Phyllis Bourne said...

When life disrupts my process, I go with a legal pad and a pen. It allows me to get the skeleton of a scene, which I fill in when I type it up on my computer.