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Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Writing Process

In reading another poet/blogger post this week I realized something. Sometimes I am all over the map in process. The post I am referring to is by Kelli. Her post tells of one way to write poems, the process she employs.

Kelli's process itself is not revolutionary in my eyes and I sure most who have written for any length of time will recognize the process. I don't use it universally but more often than not it is a version of what I do. There are still times I try to force the issue, which is to say I sit down and say to myself, "let’s write a poem about "XYZ" and I struggle through the end to write something I am most of the time not totally happy with. Still, out of hard headedness or whatever, I will try this from time to time and with rare exception, frustrate myself and to a less than desirable end.

The aspect of Kelli's approach that impressed me was her organization in working from an "In Process" file. That is where her developing or embryonic poems are. A sort of purgatory for poems (perhaps it is the Catholic in me that identifies with this) from which she will return to cull ideas and rewrite, moving them out of the file when they become full fledged poems.

The process of writing about whatever comes to your mind and moving forward with it is in fact the process I most often employ. My problem is that I have gotten away from doing a lot of my writing one the computer. Imagine that! It is not that I am trying to step backwards in time, but rather that I often write these poetry beginnings in my journal. I suppose that there are two major reasons for this. One is that the competition for the computer at home is great. You know the movies where the family has one bathroom and four children only one of which is a boy? The male family members find it challenging to eek out a few moments in the morning for themselves. Actually, that is not just a movie, but my life for many years. Now it is the same pattern with respect to the computers in our household.

I do enjoy writing in the journal. It is handy and has become a near appendage to my body. Still, the organization issues associated with it are problematic at times. I can, and do go back through it to rework stuff. But this is not a smooth process and going back to even older journals that have been retired to the bookshelf presents another whole dimension of juggling to find something vague in my memory from 6 months or a year ago.

I may have to start trying to transfer the journal work to the PC on say a weekly basis and then try Kelli’s process.

Any others want to be brave and share their formulas for successful poetry writing?
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