I sit on my bedroom floor in front of my dresser, staring into a messy drawer. Next to me, a pile of clean laundry awaits placement. It’s time to re-fold the drawer contents–open up space and donate unworn items. Any moment one of my terriers will find the heap of warm clothes and transform them into a dog bed. I go to work. Deadlines, even cute furry ones, motivate.
Writing Adventures in Low Vision naturally comes with a deadline. This year, it’s weekly content. The posts don’t write themselves, I must form them. Once I choose a topic, I’ll draft, allowing time for edits and polish. I’m not the kind of blogger who creates posts on a whim. Like clothing, everything must have a place or it goes away. Sloppiness won’t work in the long run.
Separate from the blog, I write creative nonfiction essays. The deadline of a submission window from a publication keeps me on track. I turn in pieces and wait to hear back. Sure I’ve been published, but I’ve received plenty of rejections. I keep going and try to improve. There’s always another load of experiences to launder.
Creating essays is like blogging, but more complicated. This type of laundry may need fabric softener or to be reshaped and stretched out to dry. First, I pre-write ideas. I sort my thoughts and notes into sentences and scenes and run them through the rigmarole of drafting. Then I replace and re-order through the process of revision. After reading an interview with the writer John McPhee, I printed out some of my work. I physically cut it into parts and rearranged bits in hopes of finding a better structure. It’s tedious to tailor an essay. If you’re only focusing on the mechanics, writing can be a chore.
But writing for me is not really a chore. It’s a creative process. It allows me to gain greater understanding of this thing we call life and stitch connections to our community. A finished essay is like a clean, thoughtful outfit, an expression of oneself. Whether or not the outfit is noticed, it is worn with intent and serves a purpose.
How do you express yourself? If you’re a writer, what’s your process? What laundry detergent do you use? Tell me about it.