Monday, April 24, 2017

interviewing yourself: the writing process

Same, Spongebob. Same.
Let's face it - the writing process is hard. It's not all "divine inspiration" that comes to you on a beautiful summer's day, as you watch a butterfly gently land on a deer's nose. In fact, a lot of the writing process is the exact opposite - you have to spend a lot of time out in the blizzards of winter, dragging yourself through a storm of snow, just so you might be able to catch a glimpse of the last gallon of milk before someone buys it right before you do. It sucks, but it's true - the harshness of reality is often that writing can feel like a chore, where you're crawling around looking for inspiration, and sometimes even feeling like a failure when you're not the next Wordsworth, who seemed to be able to write a hundred poems alone about the same goddamn dandelion.

But, good news! It doesn't make you a failure! I think these articles help with setting up the beginning of the writing process for anyone wanting to create a piece of literary art. "Writing a Narrative" helps the writer think about the contextual and logistical questions of what you want your work to be - who is your audience? What genre are you going for? What medium will you use to portray your work? These questions are important during the writer's brainstorming process. Additionally, it also helps with the momentum of creating ideas and bringing the piece to life.

For example, last semester I had to create a piece of electronic literature. I'll be honest - it seems like a daunting task, as electronic can literally be anything, as long as it retains a digital form. So, I had an idea of what my medium was going to be like. After that, I started thinking about what I wanted to write about - I knew I wanted to write a love story, but one with a twist. I also knew I wanted there to be a lot of blink-182 references and lyrics weaved throughout... I started exploring my more specific choices for mediums more, and then the piece started to come to life. I chose to use Wix and create a site that looked like someone's desktop, so that this interactive piece was going to be explored by the reader as if they were on this character's computer. Next, I started thinking about the characters themselves - they were young, so I wanted to give it that flair of modernity, and include apps like Spotify, Skype, and Instagram in the piece to help tell the story.

As you can see, a lot of my ideas for my writing process came to me when I had to think about my writing in a more practical sense. Ideas often come when you're thinking about the logistics of your work, or how it will affect the community you want to present it to. Again, the writing process isn't just necessarily about the main poetic idea that you strive and strive to look for or happen upon - instead, it's a rough process that does require a lot of thinking to set it in motion. However, once it gets going, Wordsworth and his dandelion poems better watch out.

Zissner's chapter was also interesting. While it provided good tips for interviewing people, I saw a lot of it as being apart of the writing process itself - Zissner's ideas could easily apply to interviewing "yourself" in order to understand yourself (and your process) better.

I liked the simplicity of reminding the reader to carry a notebook and pencil with them when going into an interview. With that being said, a writer might find it helpful to do the same; by carrying a pad of paper and pen around with them, they are able to write things down they come across that might inspire, amuse, or interest them, in order to fuel ideas for writing later. Additionally, I think people can be afraid to explore their emotions, as interviewers can be afraid to touch on things and ask the people they're interviewing certain questions. I think if writers take that extra personal push and really start thinking about who they are and what their thoughts / feelings are about certain things, it will give more insight into who they are as a person, which can get them to think more deeply and poetically about themselves and life.

Ultimately, getting to know yourself better will help in the long run of the writing process. Being able to know what interests you, or how you feel (or don't feel), creates some interesting ideas to explore and write about. You are unique, and your writing will reflect it, if you are able to be authentic with yourself and the words on your paper - people will be able to see and appreciate you for who you really are after seeing your work, as writing is the most sincere and blatant form of expression.

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