Writing – Recipe Redux

When Easha suggested a “recipe” for the blog writing process, I took the idea and sat on it for a while. I even attempted to write it but ended up disliking it. Having given it more thought and read Mr. Peril’s take, I feel ready to resurrect that post. If it’s a phoenix or a zombie, I guess we’ll see.

I still like my initial cookie analogy. The typical cookie requires a few things. Sugar and/or some manner of additive, flour that serves as the body or meat, and some manner of binder. The very simplest of cookies are simply flour, sugar, and usually butter or some other oil or fat. (Though it occurs to me after the fact that I’m speaking specifically of American cookies, not British cookies.) (Man, what I wouldn’t give for some warm scones right about now.)

My first step is very much akin to Mr. Peril’s. I require some small idea that serves as the sugar or additive. It controls exactly what sort of cookie I’m going to make. I generally have a number of thoughts tumbling around inside my head as I examine, refine, and sometimes plan. When I feel like I’m at a point where I can have or conversation about it or need a sounding board, then I begin writing the post. This is typically a rough title, a statement to start from, and a vague outline. (For some posts like my Something New “series” I have taken and edited images beforehand that define what I intend to talk about but without a clear order.) A good example here (of this step) is the writing (Easha’s) prompt + (my) previous post + Mr. Peril’s post = Core Idea. This can be fast or slow, but cannot be easily forced or rushed.

The next step is the “body” of the cookie. The flour that makes up the most of it. Once I’m through the first two or three sentences from the first step, I record my thoughts and impressions on the matter as though I were talking to myself or someone I know. I am generally analyzing that content as I go, fixing small errors as I notice them or they’re flagged. (This is also the step where I insert the images I’m using if any.) I occasionally stop and re-write or add as I see fit. I.E, the first two sentences in this paragraph were added after the fact and required the third to be edited. If I don’t make, these changes as I go, the post-writing process will seem arduous and resentful and I will simply not post it.

The last ingredient is generally a binder or oil that helps form the other ingredients into a single object. I would liken this to the overall flow of a post. Most of this is kept intact from the second step, but I like to at least take a brief moment to consider the logical progression of ideas. It’s not a question of “is this the right order,” but more of a “is this a logical and functional progression?” It’s extremely important not to overdo this step. Too much of this will lead to scrap a post, so it’s kept to the minimum I’m comfortable with.

Once I’ve combined these things there is a brief “cooking” period that one might could call editing. I like my cookies on the nearly raw side, so I try to avoid (excessive) post-processing. You can find one or two (these in this post) in here (in parenthesis.) These are the final tweaks I make. Having “finished” the post and having a definite idea of where it’s going and how it got there, I often add and tweak a few things to make it into an “edible product.”

There is one last thing I do nearly without fail. Once I’m satisfied that my post is “barely tolerable” I “sign off” on it. This is easily identifiable as beginning with “Y’all take care,” because I would wish nothing but good will upon those who make the effort to read the post. It also contains a small piece of the world and culture from which I hail and is something I’m very likely to say to someone else upon parting.

I try to include a little one or two sentence comment right behind it, which typically represents my overall mood. I try to keep it relevant to the post in question, but try not to over-think it. Interesting note, Grammarly despises the comma after “care,” but idgaf and now do it on purpose.

Y’all take care, and phoenix it is, I guess.

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