Organic Processes

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Inside versus outside, it turns out everything and nothing’s changed since last Friday:

I’m still carrying around a nine-pound baby and wearing maternity clothes.

It’s still uncomfortable to sit for long periods of time.

I still take afternoon naps.

I’m still daunted by two sets of stairs when I need to get from the basement to the bedrooms.

I’m still not sleeping well at night, what with the largish mass in our bed (though it is nice that sometimes we can talk him into sleeping in his bassinet — he is more detachable than he was last week).

Really, the biggest difference is that now I rarely have my arms free anymore. When you’re pregnant, at least you’ve got that going for you.

But we’re doing well around here. He eats like crazy, which means he hasn’t lost any birth weight and has probably gained some since then. He sleeps three hours at a time, which is decent; if we time it right, I only have to get up with him at 2am and 5am. He poops regularly and loudly, so we know everything’s functioning in that department.

It’s made me think that he could have his own movie: Eat, Sleep, Poop. Starring Brad Pitt . . . or one of Brad Pitt’s babies.

It’s also made me think about writing (of course! doesn’t everything?).

See, newborn’s don’t feel obligated to do their three moves in a set order. Sometimes they eat, then poop, then eat some more, then sleep. Sometimes they eat, then sleep, then eat, then poop, then sleep. Sometimes they sleep, then eat, then poop. You get the idea. It’s definitely what you would call an organic process.

And I still remember a writing professor in college showing us how The Writing Process is too often described as linear, as if once you’re finished prewriting, that’s it — you have to move on to drafting. Ditto from drafting to revising.

Not so! Sometimes I write first — just start drafting a first chapter of something brand new to see how it might take shape. And then I might revise that idea and then go to “prewriting” to research or brainstorm other possibilities. Writing should be organic. We should move around in the process according to what’s needed. We should even feel free to sleep on it.

Anyhow, not a hugely brilliant revelation, I realize, but I had a baby last week. Cut me some slack. 😉

How about you? What’s your creative process like? What moves do you switch between?

Leave a comment!

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10 responses »

  1. First of all, the fact that you even found the time to write this blog just a week after having a baby is amazing. My wife had our daughter almost nine months ago, and I still struggle to find time to write.

    I agree with your assessment as well. The writing process is different for everyone. I find that each new project I start is different in how it takes shape from the previous. That doesn’t make anyone of them less than the rest. Well, maybe a few of them, but I tend to not talk about those if I can help it.

    Congratulations on the new edition to your family. I’m sure he’ll be a new source of inspiration for you.

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    • Thanks for the comment. It’s very true that the process looks a little different every time. It amazes me how writing takes shape and how you have to figure out what works for you. And yes, it’s also true that finding extra time when you have a baby is tough! Good luck to both of us. 🙂

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  2. He is so cute! You do great work. 🙂

    As for writing. I can’t write well if it doesn’t feel right. That’s when I edit, or brainstorm, or explore new characters. You are so right that it must be organic. Forcing it never yields great results. Thanks for the fab post and the cute pic. Congrats again.

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  3. I am so impressed with that analogy, and your ability to blog at all! When I have babies, I tend to disappear into my bedroom/cave for a few weeks, bemoaning the loss of my “life as I knew it”.

    That picture is adorable.

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    • I’ve been in caveman mode, too. This blog post is literally the only thing I did last week. I was lucky enough to have my mom around doing everything else. It was awesome, but now I’m ready to be productive again (i.e. less bored) and type with one hand while nursing.

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  4. He’s adorable! Congratulations!

    I never thought about “writing” as something that was supposed to be linear. I guess I tend to start at the beginning and work to the end, but I’ll often go back and change things. Plus, it changes every time I write something different. But then, I don’t think linearly, so why would I write linearly? 🙂

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