What is Your Writing Process Like?

Organic, to put it politely.  I start jotting notes and fragments and throw them all into one big file.  These can be three-word scribbles from a gum wrapper or an 800-word brain dump.  Then I print them all out and try to sort them by some sort of topical means.  For instance I draw little triangles beside everything having to do with trucks, circles by everything having to do with gardening, a question mark beside everything related to existentialism, and so on.  Then I cut and paste until all the triangles, circles, squiggles, etc., are clustered.  Then I begin to write what I call “chunks”, which is a rare literary term.  Then I print the chunks out, over and over, cutting them apart with scissors and moving them around on the floor as if I am engaged in a desperate game of quasi-literary solitaire.  Eventually the chunks enlarge and cohere, and I start finding chapters.  Once I have chapters, then I get to revise and polish, which is actually my favorite part of the process.  I love to polish and polish.  My editor finally demands that I turn it all in.  In short, my writing process is unpretty and more like grunting than singing.

The results are mixed.  People tell me this.  So it goes.

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