At the end of every semester I have my students “draw” their writing process with colored pencils. After the initial grumbling that “all I can draw is stick figures!” they tend to settle in and have fun. I found one of my student’s drawings particularly poignant with its inscription scrawled below:
His drawing shows that this semester has been a struggle, yet he’s gotten through it–and he realizes that failure is all part of learning. I always draw my own process along with my students. I used to basically draw a cycle of hiking to get ideas, and writing word vomit, and then revising over and over again, but this year mine came out much differently than usual:
My new process feels right in line with magazine writing. Here’s how:
- I have dozens of ideas, all begging to be heard.
- All but just a few of the ideas die off, so that I can really focus and grow the remaining seedlings.
- Finally, one of my ideas really takes off and starts to grow.
- When it’s finished growing, it leaves new ideas in its wake, just waiting to grow and become stories of their own.
It’s amazing how, if you’re able to focus on just a few things for an extended period of time, it can affect how your very brain works. Obviously this can be very good, or it can be very bad.
What’s your writing or artistic process? Do you take long walks? Visit a museum? People-watch? Or maybe you could draw something and share it below.