From time to time someone will ask me about my personal writing process. Those who know that I write at all, primarily, I suspect, think I do mostly blog posts. I have, however, written five nonfiction books and have completed seven unpublished novels. Thirty of my short stories, also fiction, have been published. I also have a few novels and at least four nonfiction books currently underway. Like other writers, I require quite a lot of alone time. From at least seminary on, I have carved that out of the early morning hours. I’ve gone through phases when I slept normal hours like a civilized human being, but when at Nashotah House, where morning chapel was a daily requirement, I began awaking early to write. When I began commuting into New York City, that writing time got pushed back to 3 a.m., and that is mostly still true today.
It is said that Isaac Asimov had three typewriters in his study, each loaded with a different writing project. That way he could work on the one he felt like writing when the mood struck. Yes, we writers use our emotions extensively. What I work on in the morning depends on which me gets out of bed that day. Is it the long fiction me? Is it the nonfiction me? Is it the short story me? Is it the academic article me? Is it the blog post me? Ah, the blog posts. They take a lot of time. And, like most writing, they are driven by my moods. Sometimes I write about current events, often posted after the fact. Why? Because I have other posts that have been waiting to be presented.
There’s a bit of illusion involved in writing. Apart from the fact that all of my blog posts are written in the early morning, it isn’t evident from the post itself when it was written. (Unless I refer to something as having happened “yesterday” or “last week.”) I don’t follow current events closely. I can get depressed just fine on my own, thank you. I don’t start out the day with the newspaper. Writers often live in their own worlds. Reality intrudes too much, most of the time. I may never become a bestselling author. I may never be able to court an agent—believe me, I’ve tried. I may never have more than a few followers on this blog, but one thing I will do is continue writing. It wouldn’t surprise me, and in fact I think it would be entirely within character, if I died with my fingers on the keyboard.