This post originally appeared on the Salt in Wounds Patreon.
I thought you all might like some information about how I work. My (normal) process is as follows:
1. Brainstorm in Workflowy
First step, I utilize workflowy for all my brainstorming/project organizing. Workflowy is amazing and free; basically it’s infinitely nested and utterly searchable lists available on any device you happen to be utilizing. This is where I quickly jot off notes, outline, brainstorm, and just play with ideasIf you’re curious about workflowy (and I use it for lots more besides Salt in Wounds) you can sign up for a free account here (and if you use my code, we both get extra useage).
2. 1st Draft Longhand Notebook
From here, after organizing/vomiting out my thoughts via workflowy, I proceed to write a longhand version in one of my project specific genre composition books. I enjoy the physical act of writing longhand cursive (even though my penmanship is atrocious), especially with a fountain pen. It’s also nice because it’s free of distractions, can be done anywhere, and is the best way I’ve found to get out of my own way and just write. If you’re curious about fountain pens, these disposable ones from Pilot are what first got me hooked.
3. Transcribe into Google Docs
After finishing a draft in notebook, I’ll then type that up into google docs so I have access on whatever PC I happen to be using (I use a laptop for my dayjob, a chromebook for idle browsing, and share a workhorse desktop PC with my wife). It’s amazing how many errors and little tweaks I catch at this stage; writing a longhand first draft and being forced to take this step really helps me polish.
4. Additional draft Google Docs
From here, I try and crank out another draft in google docs.
5. Copy In Nonformatted Version into Word, Publisher, or whatever Blogging Software
Sometimes, bizarre formatting artifacts are transferred in from whatever word processor (this was a much bigger issue when I was transferring and divvying up the old Tribality Salt in Wounds posts) so now I’m paranoid about weird typographical issues that make things look funky. In order to ensure this doesn’t happen, I first copy/paste the text into notepad before copying and pasting into blogger. At this point I do another draft specifically for spelling and grammatical errors (avoiding -if at all possible- editing for content).
6. Typoographical Edits
I recently read and paid for the freely available (and highly recommend) web book Practical Typography http://practicaltypography.com/ which is all about the artistry of Typeset language. It’s been a huge help in changing my approach to publishing and presenting my work as a professional. Anyway, at this point in the process I specifically produce a draft in blogger that’s focused on producing the most pleasing typographical presentation of my words I can manage. (By the way, while I recommend reading all of it, just taking a moment to review Practical Typography’s ‘Typography in Ten Minutes’ section will probably greatly improve your ability to present what you write.)
From here, I promote or attempt to sell the work. I actually want to build as large an audience as possible (and make money), so getting my work in front of people (and then encouraging those people to comment, share, and otherwise join the conversation) is as much a part of the process as writing in the first place.
And that’s how I get from idea to a space where you can read it.