Processing Processes

According to me, there are at least 100,000 known writing strategies.  Maybe even more (and that’s why we shouldn’t destroy the rain forest).  Working at a college writing center has really opened up my eyes to all sorts of writing processes that professors recommend, and even though most of them have nonfiction, academic papers in mind, I think that we creative folks can glean something from their recommendations.

The particular process I have in mind is called the Madman, Architect, Carpenter, Judge, brought to you by Betty S. Flowers, and it’s pretty interesting.

First, a short summary of the process (yay, *summary dance*): A writer must wear many hats, and this process breaks them down so you don’t put the wrong hat on at the wrong time.  Trust me, wearing the wrong hat or, even worse, two hats at once, is an easy way to feel quite sheepish in a very writerly sort of way.  So, here goes:

  • Madman’s Cowl = Pull on this hat and then write so fast your fingertips catch on fire, and remember to get all those ideas onto the page no matter how awful or out of order they are.
  • Architect’s Fedora = This is where you take a look at all the chaotic scrawl that was a product of the Madman stage and organize it into its constituent (chapter-sized) parts.
  • Carpenter’s Stetson = This is the refining, the planing, and the sanding of sentences; when you wear this hat, you take a look at how sentences fit together and determine whether or not each sentence is necessary.
  • Judge’s Bonnet/Wig WomboCombo = At the very end of the writing process, you look at the words, weigh their importance, and eliminate with a discriminating eye.

I really like this process because it enables you to get out of your own way.  If you’re not allowed to evaluate individual words when they’re buggin’ you in the first or second draft, then you don’t waste time editing sentences in a chapter that might not even exist in the final draft anyway…

Use this in creative and non-creative writing.  Recommended to pair with music from my previous post.

And of course: what process do you use when writing?


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