It’s a little bit of navel-gazing, but I’d thought I’d share a little about my work flow, and how a story gets from Point A to Point B.
For the last number of years in our house, we’ve had THREE computers. It’s a bit ridiculous, I know, but hear me out.
The downstairs computer is the family one, on the Internet. The laptop is, well, a laptop, to be used wherever and whenever. Today, I transcribed for a couple of hours at the library so I wasn’t distracted by snacks or laundry at the house.
The downstairs computer is also beside the phone where I record my interviews. This is key because I can be on the phone with someone and checking facts at the same time. (And sometimes calling bullshit on that they are saying, but maybe not so directly!)
But it’s my office computer that is key to the operations, at least for me. It is NOT on the Internet. When I’m there, I am there to work — usually transcribe or write. All my books are there, including three shelves of wrestling books. Yeah, there are occasional breaks to play Solitaire, or whatever, but I consider that part of the creative process. I can go a week without being up there, and that is time collecting interviews, old stories, photos, whatever.
And it’s the music that is key for my office. It’s an old boom box, so I pull out the CDs and groove away. At the moment, it’s Airborne Toxic Event that seems to have me entranced and key to any writing.
There are times I have to zip downstairs to check email or some facts, but that’s okay and gets the legs working. Often, I’ll have a draft of a story done up, throw it on a memory stick, and then fill in some blanks (always marked with XX in my file for ease of searching) when I check downstairs.
Finally, before a story sees the light of day, whether on SLAM! Wrestling or in a book, it gets read by someone other than me. That’s key. I like having collaborators, whether it’s Steven Johnson with the wrestling or Richard Kamchen on my upcoming hockey books.
Anyway, does that give you any insight? Who knows. But I felt a need to write it, which is an affliction I often feel.
There can be a story where I have gathered and gathered, and then, like a stone rolling downhill, it HAS to come out and be written. Those are magic moments, few and far between alas.
Still, writing rarely feels like a chore to me, and I feel fortunate that a few people out there have read what I’ve written.