The (almost) writing process

No two persons’ creative process looks the same. Here’s what usually happens when I decide to write. They say writers love to have written, and it’s true.

  1. Get inspired to write.
  2. Pack a journal,  pen and laptop into and decide to head down to a favorite writing spot/coffee shop.
  3. Decide that, no, you don’t need to spend money on coffee when you have a perfectly good apartment with wifi and a coffee maker and you can write sitting on your own couch.
  4. Unpack your things, spread out on the couch while you wait for the coffee to  finish brewing.
  5. Remove cat from lap.
  6. Open laptop: browse Facebook and watch a funny cat video.
  7. Remove cat from laptop keyboard, admonish said cat to do something with his furry life already.
  8. Open a new WordPress blogpost.
  9. Decide you really want to go to the coffee shop after all. Get on bike and go there.
  10. Open laptop.
  11. Realize you don’t really have anything interesting to say and that you’ll probably die before your memoir is done.
  12. Close laptop, defeated. Vow to do better tomorrow.
800px-2004-02-29_Ball_point_pen_writing

Credit: Ildar Sagdejev/Wikipedia commons

 

Throwback Thursday: Little Bitt’s Life

My mom was going through old things to take to a consignment sale when she came across one of my earliest-known journalistic works: a biography of my hamster. It’s a pretty short work: four pages of notebook paper stapled together. The first is a title page and the other three have short paragraphs of surprisingly legible handwriting.

LB

The title page to “Little Bitt’s Life.”

I don’t know exactly how old I was when I wrote it. The story says I got the hamster for Christmas 1992, so I would have been 8, but I don’t know when the hamster died or when I decided to give an account for his time on earth.  I was home schooled at the time and I’m pretty sure it was not a part of my school work.

I write about getting him and naming him, about my brother also getting a hamster, about going to my grandmother’s house to spend the night, and about my sister finding Little Bitt near death in his cage. “We still don’t know how he deid, but he did,” I wrote before summing it up quite succinctly with “the End.”

lb1

Little Bitt the hamster

I do remember the hamster well. I loved that hamster. I used to put him on my shoulder and walk around the house with him. I remember begging my mom and dad for a hamster. I didn’t think they would get me one, but low and behold, on Christmas Day, here was this tiny baby hamster. I called him Little Bitt because of his size but I think it was also a reference to a popular cartoon of the time.

lb3

This is me (with pinkeye maybe?) holding one of my family’s hamsters, but not Little Bitt. I think this one belonged to my brother.

The story has pretty good spelling and grammar, considering a child wrote it. And it’s not much of a story, but it has a beginning, middle and and end. It’s fun to go through old personal artifacts like this and get a glimpse kid Lori. I like it that she was already writing even then.

**UPDATE: as requested, the following is the full text of Little Bitt’s Life.

   

   

Experiments in blackout poetry

Here’s a new, nerdy hobby my fellow word lovers may enjoy. It’s called blackout poetry, and you basically use a newspaper (after reading it of course) and black out all but a few words that make a poem of sorts. It sounds simpler than it is. The poems aren’t always masterpieces, but it’s fun and I like the idea of writing poetry in AP Style.

I got the idea from writer Austin Kleon, who actually did a whole book of them.

Here are a few of the ones I’ve done so far:

notworried

 

I’m not worried; I think we’re OK.

 

 

new1

New scenes, different creation. We have sought unusual, surprising pieces.

 

bizarresmall

He is bizarre, but the world thinks kindly of it.

 

pantsuitsmall

I want a maroon pantsuit. That would be amazing.

 

way

There’s a way, maybe. All sound good but none pan out.

 

haveto

 

You have to get up, but it’s tough.

 

I’m doing more of these plus haikus and pictures and stuff on tumblr at lorithebraveone.tumblr.com. And you should check out Kleon’s at newspaperblackout.com.

In the struggle (on writing)

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been a writer. Not a fantastic one, but a writer still. 

Under my bed there’s a lock box filled with old diaries from my childhood and teenage years. I’ve long since stopped caring about the secrets there but part of me still wants to protect the heart of the little girl who wrote them, so I keep them under lock and key.

My first works were made-up stories about the squirrels in the trees by my house and biographies of my late hamsters. I’d staple together their pages and call them books.

As a news reporter for the past six years I’ve had an outlet, even if it was just writing about the days’ happenings. I lost that when I became an editor a few months ago. But it seems like lately I’ve lost more than an outlet, I’ve lost the ability to write altogether.

I go to all my usual writing spots and try to string words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, to no avail. It’s not even that I don’t have stories to tell; I do. They say ‘write what you know,’ but sometimes what you know is too heavy to lift off your shoulders and put on a page.

So I struggle. I sit at the keys and type a little before letting my mind wander, back to the days when what I knew were squirrels and late, beloved hamsters. When the news was what I wrote about and it was enough.

I think maybe that’s what writing is about, the struggle. The discipline of getting into the trenches with your thoughts and these building blocks we call words and trying to make something reflective of your subject matter.

So I’ll stay a little longer, keep my fingers hovering over the keeps, or pushing a pencil across the page.

And wait for the words to come.

Bad Poetry Thursday

Note: In an effort to get over what seems to me to be a bit of writer’s block, I’ve been posting short posts that I’ve tweaked from old Facebook posts, writings, etc. Here’s a poem I found from a creative writing class in college. I hereby declare today Bad Poetry Thursday.

Star gazing

Above me, the stars shine
They sing and dance for me
from the midnight sky.
I lie on the ground and feel
Its green fingers tickling my bare arms
The spring air is chilly now
And I wish I’d brought a sweater
For a minute here, I forget that there is more than stars and grass and sweaters
Life is easy
Staring into midnight