Prompt: Writing; What, Why, Where, and When?

Questions: Where do you do your best writing? What do you know about your own writing process? Approach?

Having first begun taking my writing seriously last semester, in a class where we’d read short stories and then write our own, I did my best writing under pressure. More specifically, I’d be sitting in a lounge, or in the mezzanine on campus, stressing over every single word. I do this for essays as well.

Writing short stories is a difficult task for me but I brainstorm anyway. Just last night I had a story idea come to mind, but because there was no ultimate reason to write it – a due date for a class or a publishing press, etc – I only wrote two paragraphs. So again, I find that I do my best writing in comfortable situations if and when I absolutely need it. Will it be perfect in the end? No, but needing it in urgency gets it done faster.

Thankfully it’s the exact opposite for essays. I have a whole system for writing them depending on the type of assignment. For literary critiques, I read the story, highlight what’s important, and for my response, I do a quick synopsis of the piece and then delve into a one-sided discussion on literary elements such as foreshadowing and theme. If I’m writing a research paper – buckle up for this one – I truly go about it systematically.

For research papers, I find a number of books or sites, read through them, and on a separate sheet of paper, write down bullet points for the most important information. If I were to write a research paper on Mark Twain – which I have done in the past – I’d make a color system for each aspect of his life I would need: birth, family, his works, and I’d highlight my notes to correspond with those sections. Then comes the writing, which, with my imperative notes, comes easy. The location for that can be anywhere, so long as there’s no distraction.

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