It's a compilation of LOTS of interviews with amazing songwriters, such as Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Carole King, Randy Newman, Frank Zappa, Carlos Santana, Dave Brubeck, Brian Wilson and on and on and on.
One thing I love about it is reading how different their writing processes are.
Some write every day.
Some write only when inspiration strikes.
Some force the writing.
Some write the whole song at once.
Some write part of it and let it stew for a while.
Some need total quiet.
Some write on tour buses or in hotel rooms.
So, that got me to thinking about writing PROCESS.
And I've come to the conclusion that.....different strokes for different folks.
There should be no RULES, because everybody is different.
So....here are the things I DON'T do, even though I've heard that I should:
1. I don't write every day. Some days I'm not inspired. Some days I'm in a school. Some days I'm watching Judge Judy reruns. But I've written 10 books, so I do, eventually, get the job done.
2. I don't outline. I would LOVE to outline. I'm a super organized person whose favorite possession is a label maker. But they just don't work for me. I develop the story as I'm writing.
3. I don't keep a writer's journal. I want to. So. Bad. I want to write really cool stuff like Linda Urban does. OMG. I LOVE her journals! I love reading how her thoughts and ideas turn into novels.
When I'm in schools, I want to tell students that I keep a writing journal. I want to tell them I carry a little notebook wherever I go. I've considered lying, but I'm a terrible liar.
And I love journals. I buy lovely leather ones with handmade paper. And then I write stuff like, "Ate too many chips today. Dang it!" or "Got the cutest sweater on sale at Nordstrom! Yay me!" Maybe I'm just shallow like that. *shrugs* But journals just don't WORK for me. I journal in my head. Seriously.
4. I don't use color-coded Post-It Notes on the wall, rearranging them for plot and scenes and characters and all that stuff. I WANT to! Really bad. But that just doesn't work for me.
5. I don't create character sketches. I HATE them. You know the ones: What's your character's favorite vegetable? What does your character's bedroom look like? *Shudders* Before I put pen to paper, I know my characters really, really well. My characters tell my story for me (after a lot of prodding).
But I know them in the context of the story. I don't give a rip what she has in her backpack or what her favorite ice cream flavor is - unless it has something to do with the story. I know my characters in the context of the story. That's all I need to know.
6. I don't write in airports or cafes or hotel rooms. Trust me. I've tried. I need a quiet, still, private, personal space. Just because. (Although I did write a great deal of Moonpie and Ivy on a train. It's never happened since.)
So what's my point?
My point is that you should do what works for you.
Try some of the techniques other writers use. They might work for you. They might not.
Write on a train.
Write in a car.
Write in a bed.
Write in a bar.
Outline, journal, post-it, too.
Just do whatever works for you.
[My poem for the day.]
BUT - there are some things that I do do that help me - coming in a later post.