Friday, March 21, 2014

Entry # 205 - "How I Write!"

Sometimes people ask writers questions about how they write? So I thought I would share my current process for those who are curious.  This is how I write. This is how my office looks.
Yes. I use different chairs for different tasks.
I don't call this cluttered - yet. 

Often I awaken around 5:00 and since it’s too early to get up, I tend to go back to sleep again from 6-7 am. Rather than waste the hour, I am trying to turn this time into a writing meditation.

I read a story that I’m working on or revising the night before and think about a specific area that needs work. If I awaken in the night or at 5:00 in the morning, I imagine a scene from the story - from what I’ve already written - or a scene that I might add. That process gives me more insight into the characters, theme, conflict, patterns, or place in this particular story.

My reading & thinking chair.
As I think about this story, I imagine how this scene looks – as if I am observing through a camera lens, or I imagine how a character feels while dealing with a conflict within the story.

In the morning when I get up, I write a few brief notes of what I now know or understand about the story. Every afternoon I work on the story for an hour or three pages – whichever comes first. Usually it’s an hour or slightly more. Then I turn my attention to some other writer task like research, blog, revisions, reading, or emails for follow up about interviews or submissions.

My intention is to write a complete draft story with a beginning, middle and end each month. It doesn’t have to be finished or perfect, but it does need the structure of three basic parts. In particular, I think about the beginning, and ending in the subsequent meditations and seek ways to organically end with an image or gesture that somehow touches upon the internal and external conflicts. Later I will set the work aside for a while to give it a chance to "harden" a bit, then I will return to it periodically and revise it regularly for a year or more. It is a slow process - at least it is for me at this point.
Am I a serious writer? Yes. The cat is added proof!

About Jan Bowman
Winner of the 2011 Roanoke Review Fiction Award, Jan's stories have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, Best American Short Stories, and a Pen/O’Henry award.  Glimmer Train named a recent story as Honorable Mention in the November 2012 Short Story Awards for New Writers.

A recent story was a finalist for the 2013 Broad River Review RASH Award for Fiction, another story was a 2013 finalist in the Phoebe Fiction Contest; another was a 2012 finalist in the “So To Speak” Fiction Contest.  Jan’s fiction has appeared in numerous publications including, Roanoke Review, Big Muddy, The Broadkill Review, Third Wednesday, Minimus, Buffalo Spree (97), Folio, The Potomac Review, Musings, Potato Eyes and others.   She is working on two collections of short stories while shopping for a publisher for a completed story collection, Mermaids & Other Stories.  She has nonfiction publications in Trajectory and Pen-in-Hand. She writes a weekly blog of “Reflections” on the writing life and posts regular interviews with writers and publishers.   Learn more at: or  visit blog:
So how do you write?  Feel free to comment on your process or offer comments & suggestions.  

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