My Writing Process in Pictures

For all intents and purposes, my writing process looks like this: photo(1)

Key components to note in this photograph: the frantic, incoherent thoughts written on post-its (indicative of a very tenuous grasp on an actual argument), the large stack of books (more props for emotional support than actual evidence I will incorporate into my paper), high-lighted, annotated journal articles (don’t miss the ones on the floor), the coffee (lukewarm, probably salty with tears of desperation), and the multiple Word documents open on my computer (one: the actual paper, the other: my own fragmented thoughts and ideas to pull from, often laced with obscenities).

Clearly, this is a disorganized process for me. Writing is synonymous with anxiety, and although I do the best I can, it always is necessarily …painful. This is not to romanticize the creative process – anyone with doubts about this should take a good look at themselves in the mirror after writing for a few hours. I always look like Oscar Wildes’ The Picture of Dorian Gray. A quote from the novel seems appropriate here:

“But beauty, real beauty, ends where an intellectual expression begins. Intellect is in itself a mode of exaggeration, and destroys the harmony of any face.”

A still from George Sander’s 1945 film adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s novel. The portrait bears a striking resemblance!

The main thing I take solace in, however, is that everyone goes through a process like this, and it’s do-able. I’ve done it many, many times, and even though it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, you work your way through it, and make fun of yourself later. Another quote, also from Dorian Gray, sums it up nicely:

“Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world’s original sin. If the cave-man had known how to laugh, History would have been different.”



You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

1 Comment »

  • Janet says:

    Just wondering if you think anyone with a neat desk, file cards with topics, and combed hair and brushed teeth can be a good writer? Are all writers wrecks?


Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>