This is the process I use when I write just about anything. Not sure where all the ideas originated, though they seem rather obvious and inevitable to me at this point. I almost always start with a


Think of the list as your prewriting, all the possible ideas, all the possible things you can say about a topic. When you’re listing you can also draw and doodle and jot down sentences. The list is your preliminary scribble. Something down on paper. I recommend that you write 4 Lists to start with (see posts on this site) and that way you are never starting from scratch. Then


Or select. Or choose. Point is, you’re picking a place to start. If you wrote Lists #1-4 you have hundreds of places you can begin.

(optional) TALK.

Many people process things by talking. Lots of speakers or comedians or writers work out their material by talking through it with other people (think: Dr. House on the show House) or even in front of audiences. There are many stories or examples I have said in class for years, but have never written down. You can work out how certain phrases work or don’t. Also, using somebody else as a sounding board can help remind you of things or bring up new things. WARNING: many people stop here. Keep going. And


Time to write sentences. Start. Create a sloppy draft. Vomit. Whatever example you need. Just ran across this:

“The first draft is always perfect. Its only job  is to exist.”  – Casey Fowler   via Austin Kleon via(mlarson)

(NOTE: still need to figure out the links thing.)

I think it’s true too. Once you have a list with places to start, and then a draft with ideas on your paper, then you’re well on your way. We’ll talk more about what to do next.




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