Write On SC

Stupid Shit Other People Pass Off as ‘How to Write’

Episode Summary

On January 22, 2022, Kasie and Rex took on the process of writing as taught by the experts found via Google.

Episode Notes

Full show notes out on the blog here.

Professional writers who depend on volume for income (like those one-book-a-year professionals John Grisham and Nicholas Sparks) have the creative process down to a science. And all those teachers who teach “How to Write” have also disseminated their craft down to a process. We’re going to work on that today.

Since Rex teaches writing and I used to, many moons ago, we’re uniquely qualified to discuss what total horseshit some of this stuff is. We’ll break down the common elements of the process and some cool tips, tricks, and tools. Plus, we’ll debunk some stupid shit people say when they’re teaching you how to write and why you should ignore that garbage.

Ya’ll in? Let’s do this.

So Charlie’s gone back to school for nursing and he had to write his first paper this weekend and as he was talking about organizing his resources and writing his introduction, I got this weird deja vu from grad school when I had to be all intentional about writing. And then I thought about all the blogs (like this one!) that I write on the regular and whether I was following the tried-and-true or if I’d invented my own work habits around this thing I do for a living.

I consider myself a professional writer. Do you?

What delineates professional from novice? Or hobbyist?

What habits do we keep that support our distinction as “professional” writers?

The other thing that happened this week that made me think about this writing process concept is we hosted through SCWA a Writing Studio write-in on Thursday. The Columbia II chapter brought the prompts and we ran four 10-minute sprints with various prompts and some discussion afterwards.

Everyone thought it was very useful and productive. I used the prompts to think about the revisions I’m doing for the vampire novel. For two reasons: 1) I’m totally preoccupied with the vampire novel revisions right now and 2) I hate to waste my designated writing time on things that won’t move me forward. Meaning: I don’t want to doodle. I want to draw.

So some of the writing process steps include these forced-creativity activities that I can see having a place in a classroom but wonder if they have a place in the real world life of working writers. I wonder if Stephen King pulls out his trusty writing-prompt box of cards and decided to meander through some phrases like, “The thing you still need to know about me is…”

Do you “exercise” your writing? How? When? Where? What becomes of those exercises?