Thanks to Abegail Morley for tagging me. Abegail has written about her writing process here.
What am I working on?
There’s usually a combination of new work and editing in progress and there are always reviews. At the moment new work is a poetry sequence. I’m also editing poems written last year for ‘Poem a Day’ in September where the idea was to write a draft poem or notes towards a draft poem every day for September. Some of those poems will shaped, edited and eventually published. Some will fall by the wayside. I’m also reviewing four books for The Journal and have one from London Grip.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
It’s difficult to talk about writing without coming across as precious or pretentious. It’s also pointless trying to pretend to be unique in that literature already has an impressive canon so any subject I write about will have been tackled by someone else before. All I can do I try and bring a new perspective or encourage readers to see something from a new angle.
Why do I write what I do?
I find I come across something, it might be a memory, an image, a fragment of a song lyric or a news story, and it won’t let me go. It will haunt me until I write it down. Once it’s written down I want to shape it into the poem it deserves. This merges with the desire to communicate and share the poems I’ve written. I’m not a great talker (this is an understatement) so writing is my natural form of communication.
How does your writing process work?
I do a lot of thinking or reading around an idea before I commit any words to paper. I find this way, when I do start to write, the idea is closer to its final format because I’ve been effectively doing several rough drafts in my mind. I prefer to let a poem find its own form – even free verse has a form whether that’s three line stanzas or syllabics – and then work to that, weeding out the weaker phrases and editing those and then editing the bits I thought were OK. I always read my drafts aloud, whether it’s a poem, short story or chapter, as that’s the only way of getting a feel for rhythm and reading aloud can pick up overly complicated syntax and grammar issues. When I get to the stage when I think I can’t do anymore with a draft, I’ll put it aside. After a gap, where I’ve been working on something else or reviewing, I’ll come back to it and decide whether it’s as finished as it can be for now or whether it wants more work. If I decide the poem’s as finished as it can be, I’ll consider whether it’s worth seeking to get it published.
I don’t have any writing rituals. It makes no difference to me whether I handwrite or type first for early drafts or whether I read from a piece of paper or screen. What does matter is the quality of what I’m reading.
Look out for My Writing Process Blogs from
Sue Guiney, an American writer based in London. Her publications include 2 poetry collections and 3 novels. She is now writing a series of novels set in present day Cambodia where she founded and teaches each year a writing workshop for street children.
Pat Jourdan After Liverpool College of Art, Pat Jourdan went off to London with a five pound note and continued to paint, write poetry and longer pieces, while working in many pointless jobs to pay the rent and otherwise live. Over the years she has produced several exhibitions, six collections of poetry, two collections of short stories and two novels. A new collection of short stories, The Fog Index is due out this year.
By Emma Lee