Kelly is in the middle of it, Preoccupied has caught up, and Perry has already finished hers – how come Guylty is still fuseling around with question 3??? My usual problem with follow-ups? Nope. RL is to blame. And my puritan stand-offishness when it comes to blogging introspectively. Ok, and the fact that I have loooooads to say about the writing process.
There, consider that a fair warning. It is still time to jump ship. In fact, it was that particular question (which I originally directed in a comment at Servetus) that set off the idea for a blogging challenge for *all* in order to deflect the vanity accusation away from me.
So, the blogging process for Guylty Pleasure. Ugh. I have just realized I have written too much, and that makes me feel uncomfortable. So I am hiding it all under the cut below. If you really want to read a convoluted, self-aggrandizing, self-important post on the minutiae of Guylty’s writing process, you may precede. But you have been warned! As a short answer I give you this: I spontaneously decide on the topics of my posts, depending on my mood, on Mr Armitage’s current project, Armitage-related news, fandom goings-on, and on my creative output. Then I usually brainstorm and take notes for posts in my trusty notebook, including sketches and photos. I prefer writing for my blog in a Word.doc and then copy and paste them into the WordPress back-end. All very simple.
Reader-commentators – how do you approach commenting? Do you take notes? Do you just plunge in? Have you got a process?
[Immediately ETA: Where TH is the cut??? Sorry, folks, the “Read More” tag does not seem to work with my blog theme. So take this line as a cut and leave now if you don’t want further insights.]
As for the convoluted answer on the “usual blogging process”. Let’s turn that into the “writing process” because I am not really a news blogger but I am just following my own personal flow, first and foremost enjoying the discussion and banter that I hope to prompt with my posts. Topic selection is not really an issue for me – there are the round-ups on Saturday, few and far between *ooof*s, RAPS presentation posts and the occasional review, all personal and not news-driven. An entirely selfish endeavour, then, all just for the purpose of creative writing.
Writing is something I have always done, enjoy doing now and will continue doing in the future – with or without Armitage. I am a spontaneous writer, pretty good at making editing decisions and at signing off – the latter probably due to my short attention span. I get bored with a topic quite quickly, so if I do not finish a post quickly, chances are that I will never get back to it. I am not particularly precious with my writing, both creatively for my own purposes, but especially as a professional writer (I earn part of my income with daily news articles in the area of tech-, marketing- and internet-news). I have always considered my submissions to my editors as an offer, a suggestion, which others are welcome to improve. There is little vanity *there*.
For my professional writing I cannot afford to spend much time on planning and editing. Internet news are a short-lived, fast-paced environment where items have to be produced in an extremely timely manner. To balance it out, I give myself plenty of time for recreational writing – enjoying the process more than the final product, if I am honest. The process differs slightly depending on the type of post I write – a photographic analysis (*ooof*), a ficlet, a commentary, a review, a (fake) press release, a (fake) newspaper article. I like to have a distraction-free environment – no music, no family members hovering around me. And I need plenty of time. I need a free mind to develop my thoughts, and I feel terribly frustrated when the creative urge, the need to express myself, is hampered by circumstances. Many of my posts take their initial shape from an irrepressible internal monologue.
Could someone please invent an app for that – posting would be so much easier!
All my posts start in my notebook. I love the tangibility of writing on paper – or maybe it is the visualization of the thought, expressed in lines and dots and dashes, that attracts me. Writing with a fountain pen on smooth, white paper has a meditative quality. Occasionally I find my eyes glazing over and I am only perceiving regular curves and lines but no words anymore. The act of writing becomes meditation and painting rather than writing. But when I switch my brain back on, my notes first and foremost serve as reminders to work from. The process of handwriting also forces me to slow down my thoughts – good for structuring the post, but can also have negative effects. I can forget things or I can endlessly add new ideas to my notes. However, the notes serve as a tool to structure my thoughts (and posts) by creating a chain of related topics.
The notes are bullet points and keywords or elliptical sentences. I have my own system of abbreviations in place since my (first) college days. I only write full-sentence notes occasionally – for a particular turn of phrase for instance. My notes are usually written in the target language, with the occasional German word thrown in if I can’t think of the English equivalent off the top of my head. (I look those words up once I transform the notes into digital text.) Even though my professional work is predominantly in my mother-tongue, and even though I speak German every day with my bilingual children, I prefer writing in my second language. English flows so much better, is precise, unpretentious and concise, yet it is also slightly further from my heart, and therefore allows me to make conscious decisions about tone, vocabulary and register.
Very important tool for distancing yourself when you are a fangirl who is rationally conflicted about the emotional effect which a celebrity, whom she does not know, has on her.
My notebook is littered with photos, drawings and post-its. For photo analyses and creative writing I need a visual prompt. That will usually consist of a photo (for the *ooof*s) or an image in my head – which could just be a detail like a body part. Then I just free-flow write whatever comes up. If the thoughts are jumbled, I highlight passages in different colours to separate them and mark where they sit in the text. I am a fast writer – both on paper and on screen, so I do not find the process too time-consuming. It also appeals to me because I like to document and record my thought processes, and my notebook is my own, personal, mixed media work of art. However, it is strictly private – and in that respect I can relate to Mr Armitage’s resistance and reluctance to widely share his character diaries. They are of great, sometimes sentimental, value for the writer – but also a tiny bit cringe-worthy…
After note-taking I predominantly write in an Office doc, or even WordPad, rarely directly into the WordPress backend. The main reason for that is that I get distracted easily, and the comment notifications in the shape of a tiny orange speech bubble in the top right corner of the screen have proven irresistible. In my Word.doc OTOH I am undistracted by e-mails, writing comments or even feeling the need to watch a clip. The old-fashioned way of typing in a separate document basically creates a clean slate to work on.
Then all that is left to do is copy and paste the text into the editor window in WP, iron out inconsistencies in content and font, add strike-throughs and links, upload illustrations, categorize, tag, spell-check and “go”.
Phew, just made it in time before
Tuesday Muse-Day ends. I think this has been a rather revelatory post, very much designed to satisfy my own vanity document my own process, and to give me opportunity to talk about myself. Ugh. Apologies. I really look forward to question 4 of the challenge when I will reign myself in again. Promise!