Monday, August 26, 2019

It's a Process
My writers' critique group has been going through some growing pains in the past couple of years. Currently, we're the smallest we've been in all the time I've been attending the group.

In addition, we're not all writing novels. When I first started in the group, I was odd man out, writing essays and articles. Now it seems that everyone is writing something different, working in genres as diverse as playwriting, short stories, essays and novels -- and all that in a group of six. Even those of us who write novels are writing very different kinds of books.
As with any change, there is the opportunity for growth. A few months ago, we decided to open our meetings with a writing exercise. As the person who suggested the idea, I ended up taking on the responsibility of coming up with each month's exercise.

It's a challenge.

The other night, we welcomed a new member, and I wanted to pick something not too taxing. I thought it would be fun to ask everyone to share his or her writing process.

Was it ever.

Each person's process was a reflection of his/her personality, genre and the place writing held in his/her life. As we shared, each of us found ourselves saying, "I don't do that, but I do this instead," which opened up a window into processes so different -- and like -- our own.

As writers, we can live in a tunnel -- figuratively, anyway -- each of us carving out a writing niche that contains both work and process. The niche -- and the life itself -- may be big, small, quiet, noisy, secluded, chaotic or something else entirely. And, as a result, our processes vary widely, leaving each of us to bring something a little bit different to the table.

mohamed_hassan via Pixabay
It was both fun and enlightening hearing the work habits of my colleagues. I jotted down a few ideas
that I thought were cool -- things to keep in mind when my own process isn't yielding the desired results. Since I write fiction, this also begged a question.

I wonder how my characters would fare in my colleagues' worlds.

Since I'm pretty happy with my process -- at least when things go according to plan -- I'm not sure I'll ever find out.

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