“You can do without a woman but not a typewriter.”
A Writer’s Process
In the Art World, process can a be a pretty big thing. In art colleges it can be everything. During every Q&A someone is sure to ask “What is your process?”.
Process is a collection of habits and practices an artist has picked up along the way to put him or her in the place of being able to generate work. Maybe that only means silence or coffee.
Everyone is different. I can imagine a writer listing their process as finding a quiet room, writing up an outline, doing some research, developing characters and so on. The fun can be in the quirky like only at night or only after two shots of tequila.
History is full of writers where the work has come from the bottle, sometimes deep in the bottle. “Write drunk, edit sober.” and fun little sayings like that. Oh! The agony of finding the right word!
Process can and often should be a solid platform from which to create work and generate material. These are things from a writer’s past that has proven to be a part of a success on some level.
Process can be limiting and this is why I write this today. You don’t have to have it. A noisy baby next door should not keep you from writing. “I can’t work in these conditions!”. Sure you can. One can get chained to their process and the best work may be found outside of it.
You don’t have to have a typewriter or word processor or silence or noise or caffeine or booze or research or outlines or New York or the newspaper or history or the dictionary to make work.
Think of poor Jack Kerouac who handed in On The Road on one continuous piece of paper, 120 feet long. He taped pages together so that it would not interrupt the flow. Man, I’m glad I’m not trapped in that process.