Saturday, November 14, 2009

Putting the Books Away

After writing for a few decades, I've learned a lot about my writing process. I am a heavy reviser. I plan for a while, and a lot of that planning isn't formal. I tend to draft pretty quickly pretty much because it's the part of the process I hate the most. Oh, it can just feel like ripping open veins and pouring blood on the page (or keyboard, as it were). But I can spend all day--or at least a few hours a day--revising. I love having pages in front of me and a blue pen that I can use to mark out and scratch up and add to for quite a while. Da Man is the opposite. His drafting process takes forever. He writes very, very slowly, but what he writes is pretty much what will stick in the final draft. One of the things I always tell students is that they need to try a few things and figure out the right process for them, and I use us as examples.

What's funny is that Da Man and I have realized how much our writing process aligns with other parts of our life. When we moved here, we both had a ton of books, of course. We got all the bookshelves in their spots right away, deciding which ones we'd each take and putting our own books away on our own time. I'm getting close to getting mine all put away while he's been done for a bit. As with his writing process, he put his books away quite slowly, and once a book landed in a spot, that's where is has pretty much stayed and will stay. I, on the other hand, left my books in piles on the floor in my office, and I've been moving them around these past few days. As with writing, I've been dreading finding the right spots for them, so I made quick piles of major categories. I separated narrative books into fiction and nonfiction and separated those by gender. I had other categories like film/pop culture, medial humanities, feminist theory, porn and sexual culture studies, composition theory, and all that. After getting the big piles on their shelves, I've started going over the shelves slowly, dividing the big categories further, trying to make sure I can find things when I need them. I'm not done, and I won't be done for a bit.

But that's fine by me. I'm enjoying this part.

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