The Writing Process

August 1, 2014


Step 1:  Fill a martini glass with ice and water, and chill; measure out equal portions of gin, … .

Kidding aside, I’m sharing my writing process, and on many days it starts with a cocktail. Only in the evening, and only before dinner. (One is my limit, plus a bit of wine with dinner.)

“Write drunk; edit sober” gets attributed to Ernest Hemingway, but the Internet tells me Peter De Vries deserves credit for the quote. Regardless, for me it works, although I won’t own “drunk.”

Most blog posts get written after work. If I’m behind a scramble happens the next morning between 6:15 and 7:00 a.m., my deadline for reaching subscribers. I’m better after work, though, probably because I find the process relaxing. There’s a ritual too, as I have a very precise scale for measuring drink ingredients, three potted plants thrive from the “enhanced” ice from the drink shaker, I write while I wait for Ms. J to finish her after-work activities, etc. It’s good!

I decide what to write about very haphazardly. There was a schedule, but it fell away when readership stats told me, maybe, that basic law information—what is a will, what does signing a guarantee mean, etc.—got a “meh” response. I did not expect to be writing anywhere near as much about Supreme Court decisions, but … well, how can’t you? (Court decisions provide an opportunity for me to be an explainer, despite my not being a constitutional law specialist. The mainstream media gets much about the law wrong, and also focuses through the political lens, and even without super-strong credentials I think I’m doing a better job than the MSM.) Otherwise, you get what strikes my fancy, although I certainly welcome ideas from readers.

I do try to lighten up by late in the week. I’m sure I’m failing there, and work on that is on my agenda.

If you see a comment about more pieces on a subject, or a series, etc., be wary! Very wary!!! Intentions are good; follow-through, not so much. Working on this too!

I try very, very hard to avoid “gotcha” stuff. The liberal blogs have too many posts with a “this won’t last an hour” air about them. People are human. Politicians are especially human, which means they are inconsistent, want to win every argument, think short-term, etc. Their world is not mine! I have noted inconsistencies and will do so still, but I avoid the ones that really don’t matter, and those which are a reach. If you’re looking for that style, look elsewhere.

Many readers I encounter cannot fathom how I have time for this endeavor. Easy it is! I write quickly. I’ve been writing lots of words, every work day of my life, for almost 33 years. I don’t think I write super well, but I do write fast, and I think my prose works for this genre.

Most pieces come together in an hour or less. Some take a bit longer, and a few will simmer for days. If what I write will affect people I care about, the piece sits. (As an aside, I avoid some issues and topics because of my many relationships, and those of my family, friends, clients, and law partners.)

On the time issue, there’s also no golf, cycling, hiking, etc. in my life. I exercise whenever my knees are not acting up, but they only tolerate so much time on the treadmill on their good days. So it’s mostly work, hanging with friends after work and on weekends, and writing. Which leaves lots of time for writing!

I get a few other questions. Do I read everything I hyperlink to? Yes, except on The Wednesday Curator. For Wednesday I read most links, but I do see pieces that seem interesting and worth sharing that I can’t get to. They get shared anyway, sometimes.

What about Wikipedia? (No one really asked about Wikipedia, but I saw something, somewhere, where someone looked askance at citing to Wikipedia.) I link to Wikipedia because of its uniform style. I’m not warranting as to accuracy, and when I do research I always go to direct sources after using Wikipedia like an encyclopedia.

Finally, some people want to know my readership numbers. Not enough is the proper answer, for I don’t know any author who thinks enough people read the written words. I do have analytics at my website and at Facebook, but they’re mostly Greek to me. My very social media savvy sister helps me, but she’s dealing with a Luddite! Her burden during her 55 years on this planet!

Lots of good pieces in the works, and please do note the lack of specifics!

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