Friday, February 16, 2018

Found in the Drafts Folder (Part I)

I noticed tonight that my drafts folder is bursting with unfinished blog posts. I'm not overly surprised; I'm kind of an...aimless writer. My "writing process"—be it a blog post, an essay, an article, or even a book—is this:

I make coffee, I get chocolate.

I sit in a comfortable place. I adjust the lighting. I pick the music.

I position my hands on the home row.

I take a deep breath.

And then...who even knows? I wake up on the other side of the city, disoriented and dressed in different clothes. It's four weeks later. I've written five hundred thousand words, and I don't know where any of them came from or if I put them in order or where they ended up. I don't know what half of them mean; I just like how they sound. I have words in my hair and in my socks and twittering around my head like when a cartoon character gets hit in the head with an anvil or falling piano. I feel worried that other people have read the things I've written and are going to feel worried about me right back.

You think I'm exaggerating, but you should've seen how I went about writing my book. Probably every person who has ever written a book or read a book or seen a book in real life would cringe if they knew (should I be admitting this on the internet?).

The truth is: I didn't even know who or what the book was going to be about until after I'd already been writing it for a while.

Day one: I made coffee, I got chocolate. I sat on my bed, opened the blinds, put on Cloud Boat. Positioned my fingers on the keyboard, took a breath, and typed Chapter Three at the top of the blank document.

I didn't have a scene in my head or anything, I just knew I didn't have any good starts in me that day, nothing that would make a good Chapter One or Two. I didn't have any good endings either. Nothing climactic enough to be near the end, even. I didn't have any characters to introduce or any good initial incidents. It was just a rising action kind of day, and I wanted to write something set in a living room, and I don't even know how to explain why. It's like food cravings, you know, sometimes you want spaghetti and sometimes you want blueberries and sometimes you want anything so long as it has lots of cheese on it.

When it came time to write "[she] said", a name dropped onto the page (er, screen) and I pictured the person who could belong to that name. I liked her and I kept her. At some point, the whole thing developed into a story with a beginning and an end. I don't know how it happened though.

Where was I going with this? Surely I didn't set out to paint myself as a terrible, thoughtless writer who should not be entrusted with a laptop?

Oh right, the drafts folder. I was going to share some of the puzzling things I found there, blog posts I started to write and never finished, and which are now devoid of context or conclusion and, therefore, baffling to me.


This one is from an apparently very long week in November of 2015. I wonder why it was so long?

It has been a super long week. 

I mean, this week has lasted twenty years or so. 

This week was five thousand miles long.

This week was long enough to require some kind of special building permit from the city just to keep it in my yard. 

What a long week.

I guess I've been in kind of a bad mood for most of it. Sometimes people are in bad moods, though. That's fine. 


And I started this one the next day, a list with only two things on it. I wonder if I just couldn't think of other things. I can think of other things now.

Things People Do And Feel Embarrassed About But Shouldn't Because Everyone Does Them:

1. Wearing a toque instead of washing hair
2. Wandering the aisles of the grocery store an hour before suppertime with iPhone in hand listlessly googling "Easy Good Fast Supper Ideas".


One more, for now, because this post is getting stupid long. This one is from last year, when I was feeling pretty impressed with myself (and rightfully so, I think; I just wish I could remember which four events this was in reference to):

There's probably a GIF for what I'm about to say. I'm picturing a gymnast running full-speed towards a springboard, tripping at the last minute, falling forward, tumbling head-over-heels onto the springboard, catapulting into the air and somehow executing and landing some kind of fancy triple-front-flip thing.

That's exactly how I feel when I accidentally double-book myself and somehow am able to do both things. So imagine how I feel when I quadruple-book myself and make it to everything.


I wonder if I would be better or worse at writing if I were more methodical?