An Illustrated Writing Process

Please note:  this post was edited, accidentally deleted,  rewritten, and republished, because I proofread everything but the title last night right before I went to bed, and, confident that I’d finally managed to get a post scheduled so I didn’t have to worry about it, didn’t worry about it until I went to post it on Facebook after lunch . . . and saw the huge typo in the title.  So that’s why you have two of ’em in your inbox or feed reader today.  

Because that’s how I roll.


Except for the laundry and Rocinante’s oil change* and running around in a panic tossing stuff into my suitcase like a madwoman, I’m almost ready for the MWW.

I rewarded myself by wandering through the archives of David Malki !’s Wondermark webcomic for an hour last night, instead of thinking up a Tuesday post and working on my new project . . .

. . . until I realized that I’d just read a random selection of strips that summed up my usual writing process, such as it is, from idea to at least the end of the first draft.

The process is mine, but the strips belong solely to the brilliant Mr. Malki !,** who probably didn’t imagine this result when he gave his fans permission to share his strips:


First, of course, there’s thinking up a decent, fairly original premise that I didn’t absorb via osmosis from spending more than half my waking life in a library selecting, reviewing, recommending, and basically breathing other people’s stories:

Original Ideas

But eventually, after enough coffee, desperation, and sleep dep, I’ll be hit upside the head with find a new idea, or at least a new way of looking at an old idea,*** that might also double as a fresh, weird, and frankly icky metaphor for the whole writing process:

Human Pearls

And then I’ll get to work, knowing it would all be so much easier if my life were completely different. Right?

Then Again

And I always think I should be writing faster and cleaner than I do, and being aware of this particular anxiety doesn’t always help, especially when other people seem to be having a much better and easier time of it without any effort at all.^ Not that I’m comparing, you understand.

Success and Luck

Of course, the support of family and friends (you know who you are) is crucial to overcoming the self-constructed obstacles between myself and the sheer genius my mother is convinced will manifest any second now.


Regardless, if I stick with it and keep chugging along, at the end of the first draft, I’ll have this beautiful, amazing creation . . . that might need a just a little more work to achieve that polished pearl that squicked you out a few strips ago.

Passion Project

And there you have it. Or I do.

Sort of.

But even if this particular four-door literary buggy (see what I did there?) never gets further than the end of my driveway, there will be others.

And someday, success:

Turtle Coasters

(again, all strips are the property of David Malki ! and borrowed with blanket permission from his website, which y’all have to check out right now, because I wasn’t just blowing smoke about his brilliance to keep his lawyer from sending me polite e-mails about taking down this post—go!)


*Livin’ dangerously, that’s me—though I may try to sneak into my usual place early tomorrow morning, because livin’ paranoid seems like the safer bet, here.

**Who does indeed put the “!” in his name. It’s not silent, in case you were wondering.

*** Or temporarily borrowing it from a more creative person just to make a point.

^Not you—you deserve your successes as quickly as you can get them. I’m talking about Them.