Friday Speak Out!: Searching for a Process

Friday, October 06, 2017
by Antoinette Truglio Martin

My writing ambitions have been burning for at least 50 years. Although there have been a few successes, a true writers’ process has alluded me. Juggling three daughters, husband, home, and a teaching career made writing an elusive goal. I never found a groove to identify as a process. It seemed to change as it fit into spaces as my life lived forward. Inspiration ignited ideas that were fueled by obsession. The stories looped in my head for days, weeks, years. Some made it onto paper. It could be said I was winging it.

Now, with a book ready to launch, retirement nearing, and my children grown to independent adults, a window of writing opportunity may be within reach. I am learning to a let the dust settle on the floors and horizontal surfaces for a few days. With just my husband and me at home, laundry can wait and meals do not have to be epic events.

I decided to not struggle with finding a workable process. Knowing myself, I would probably find a way to sabotage the discipline. Instead, I have been trying to accept my writing quirks and evolve them into writing mantras. I kept them to only five because recalling five aspirations is about all I can remember.

1. Journal to exercise writing. Journaling is my way of practicing writing. It is like stretching before the 5K run or running through musical scales. Words and sentences are rehearsed. Thoughts and observations are transformed into images from journal work outs. Warm up writing by journaling.

2. Write anywhere and everywhere. Although I have a room dedicated as “the office” complete with a handsome desk and high back chair, I like to write wherever the spirit moves me. The kitchen table with coffee just a step away is a productive place, as is the sunroom (when it is warm), backyard, beach, boat, and occasionally, a local bar. Portable writing tools offer opportunities to write where I sit.

3. Fill writing space with music. I save sing-able music for cleaning and driving. Classical and instrumental music soothes my right brain and allows my left brain to process and write. Music adds creative atmosphere when writing.

4. Stick to the writing basics. I am a product of my pre-technology education. My first drafts are always handwritten. The kinesthetics of handwriting keep me attentive and organized in my disheveled way. I jot ideas in margins, add exquisite vocabulary, and draw arrows to move ideas and paragraphs. Handwrite to give writing initial shape and direction.

5. Call writing “work”. The truth is that doodling, spinning in the chair, thinking out loud, and eventually, typing something is laborious. Some writing is harder than others, but it is always work. It takes time and effort. Work (writing) is valuable.

* * *

photo credit:  Titus Kana
Antoinette Truglio Martin is a speech therapist and special education teacher by training but is a writer at heart. She is the author of the children’s picture book, Famous Seaweed Soup (Albert Whitman & Company) and was a visiting author in schools for several years. She was formerly a regular columnist for Parent Connection (In A Family Way) and Fire Island Tide (Beach Bumming). Personal experience essays and excerpts of her memoir were published in Bridges, Visible Ink, and The Southampton Review. Martin proudly received her MFA in creative writing and literature from Stony Brook Southampton University in 2016. As a Stage IV breast cancer patient, she does not allow cancer to dictate her life. She lives in her hometown of Sayville, NY with her husband, Matt, and is never far from My Everyone and the beaches she loves. HUG EVERYONE YOU KNOW: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer is her first book. Visit her at or FaceBook.
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Penny Pierce said...

I so relate with your approach to your writing Antoinette. I cannot seem to settle into a particular writing groove such as time of day, word count etc. It may be that because I am a blogger and a musician/singer/song-writer, I'm attempting to engage multiple types of writing with limited amounts of time (and energy) I keep imagining that a day will come when I can somehow find that groove but it may always allude me... Anyway, I too have been journaling for years and from it I have gleaned great blog posts and songs. It does serve as a writing hatchery as you suggest. Thanks for sharing your story.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Great post, Antoinette! I can totally relate. I recently hired a housecleaner and order half of my weekly meals from a grocery meal kit service so I don't have to worry about deciding what to make. I also have a dedicated office but rarely write creatively there. Instead, I write by the pool, in bed, in a park, at a restaurant or library. One thing I don't do is journal or write by hand. My handwriting is awful and I can't read what I wrote later. lol

Congratulations on your first book! It sounds like an inspiring memoir. SheWritesPress is great.

Margo Dill said...

I just wanted to second what Angela said here--Congrats on your first book. How exciting!

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top