My Writing Process: A Blog Tour

I am taking part in The Writing Process Blog Tour which is a fun way to introduce you to writers from far afield. Each author will offer brief insights into their writing processes and, in turn, they will introduce you to three more authors.  I was invited by Tracey Lynn Tobin.  Be sure to check out her blog for some amazing writing!

Thomas Slatin 10-18-2013

What am I working on?
My professional career pursuits have varied over the years, and continue to evolve.  It seems that by the time I make it approximately halfway up the corporate vocational ladder, I get bored by my career path and decide to seek employment in a different capacity.  I originally started working at a summer camp holding various positions, then worked as an Emergency Medical Technician and Firefighter, in various capacities and various locations all over New York State, including New York City.

Writing was always something I wanted to pursue, but never knew how to go about writing in general.  So, I write and take pictures full time, and also work part-time doing more conventional occupation.  I prefer not to be bothered while I am working.  And I’m working all the time.  If I had to specify, specifically, what I am working on, or have been working on recently, it would be a combination of writing and photography.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Whenever I tell someone that I’m a writer, I am faced with a look of disbelief, confusion, or curiosity.  It seems as if I do not fit the common writer stereotype; one who smokes tobacco, drinks alcohol in excess, and shows up late to work.  My work differs from others in the sense that I write in a non-fictional, almost journalistic fashion about events, experiences, and observations from my life, almost as if I am a stranger in my own life.

My father wished for me to be successful in life, and he did all that he could to get me into medical school.  After taking two years of college medical classes, beginning in my freshman year, I decided that before I went any further, I had better figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  Many of the more interesting people I have met in my life had no idea what they wanted to do with their life by age 30 or even 40; the most interesting of those people still have no idea.  I would like to think that I am one of those people who may never know what they want to do with their life.

Why do I write what I do?
When I was a child, I was introduced to Allen Ginsberg, a poet famous for the Beat Generation, by my parents.  I also knew Charles Kuralt, and a handful of other famous poets, journalists, and writers.  I can still recall them telling me that I would one day become a very prolific writer because I was one who was always quiet, introverted, and above all else, observant.  These people told my parents these observations as well.

One of the most predominant reasons that comes to mind is preservation.  By writing, I feel as if I am documenting and/or leaving behind a legacy that details the human experience, from my perspective, from my own life.  I have seen and experienced some truly amazing things, both in my personal life, as well as through my 15+ year career in medicine.  With the help of Archive.org, I can be reasonably assured that what I have created will be available for future generations to read, and hopefully, gain some perspective.

How does my writing process work?
I’ve always been different from everyone else I know, and my writing process in and of itself is radically different from those of other writers.  I’m going to explain my writing process in detail with the caveat that it is radically different from the writing process taught by the modern educational system of the United States.  When I write, I just sit down as soon as the inspiration hits, and write in my notebook.

Never once have I gained any benefit, insight, or organization from outlining.  I feel that outlining is an archaic practice that is taught to students based on traditional teaching curricula.  While it may serve a purpose to some writers, it is a complete and total waste of time for me.

Concept Mapping / Mind Mapping
A modern approach to the archaic outlining generally taught in education; also something that serves little or no benefit in my case.

What makes my writing process unique is the fact that it is 99% paper-based.  All of my writing, no matter how insignificant, is done on paper with a blue pen.  I have volumes of notebooks filled with writing just waiting to be typed and published on my blog.  And yes, I keep everything I write, no matter what.


  • Tracey Tobin

    Awesome post, Tom! I actually saw a lot of myself in your answers. I’ve also often gotten the impression from other people that I don’t seem like a “writer”, at least the way they think of a writer as being. I also have absolutely no use for outlining or mapping. On occasion I’ve been known to do a character “data” sheet or something like that, but for the most part the only way that I can write is to just sit down and start putting words to paper. My brain doesn’t like any kind of advanced planning. lol

    Also, personally, I think that it is the rare person who actually knows what they want to do with their life. We live in a society that glorifies the idea of student –> graduate —> worker —> retiree, but I think it’s a lot more complicated than that and most people would be a lot happier if they could allow themselves to realize that sometimes you just have to ditch the thing that you THOUGHT you wanted to do when you realize that you don’t actually want to do it anymore. ^_^

    • Thomas

      Thanks, Tracey! If you don’t mind me saying so, I think that you are perhaps one of the most interesting, articulate, and nicest people that I haven’t yet met. My interpersonal relationships with friends are few, but the bonds are strong and lifelong. Just ask some of the small handful of people who I have been friends with since age 12!

      When I stated in my post that I was different in many ways, what I meant to say was that I am different in practically every way. I am also amused by and in admiration of difference. What a boring world we would live in if everyone were exactly the same.

      I am happy to find out that you and I share a few similarities, such as the writing without pre-planning. I was never one to plan ahead for something that I had already worked-out in my mind already. It seemed to me to be an unnecessary step that only aimed to postpone the action phase of an inevitable plan I already created.

      Even when I was in college, when outlining was still made mandatory, I would secretly write my pieces first, then make a very detailed outline of what I had already written. As archaic as it may be, the modern educational system still insists on making outlining, concept mapping, and documentation of ideas mandatory.

      It’s time to create some change, don’t you think?

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