PERCOLATOR or TEAPOT: What Kind of Writer Are You?

img_3760It doesn’t matter if you prefer coffee or tea. That’s really beside the point. I’m guessing, though, that as a writer you are either a percolator, a tea pot or – like me – a bit of both.

Most of the time, I am percolator. That is, I like to reflect on new stories and poems before writing a first draft. When “percolating” I always keep a pen and notebook handy so I can jot down ideas. I make lists, play with possible plot twists, settings, points-of view etc.  For example, with both Goodnight, Ark and Goodnight, Manger, I filled almost two notebooks with ponderings and word play before I actually sat down and wrote the stories.  Once I was ready to write, I wrote the first drafts of each in one sitting.

I guess you could say at that point, I turned into a teapot!  When I’m in teapot mode, poems and stories just flow, sometimes even overflow out of me. This outpouring often occurs at the most inconvenient times -when I’m cooking, or in the middle of the night. But when it does, I just let my mind shift into story/poem mode and I go with it. Writing in earnest becomes my priority – because once that tea is pouring out of me, it’s impossible to stop. I don’t worry about getting words down perfectly. I just write down the story that’s pouring out as fast as I can. (Occasionally, dinner gets a little overcooked, but don’t worry everyone gets fed.)

But teapot stories are not ready to drink yet. Far from it. Instead, after completing each teapot burst, I turn back into a percolator again, with intermittent bursts of teapot. I repeat this percolator/teapot process again and again until every word and moment pushes the story or poem forward in a fun meaningful way.

Finally it’s time for the finishing touches. At this point, I think rather than teapot or percolator, I become like a fine wine taster- sniffing and swishing – to make sure each sentence, phrase, and plot turn has just the right – je ne sais quoi – so that the story is magnifique – or at least as magnifique as I can make it- before I send it off to my agent to review.

So, dear writing friends, which are you – percolator or teapot?   Happy writing all!

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24 thoughts on “PERCOLATOR or TEAPOT: What Kind of Writer Are You?

  1. I think I am a percolator at the start, then the teapot takes over to steep the story into something palatable and pleasant. Like you there is the combination, back and forth, to make it the best it can be. Of course, the wine tasting is the best. 😉

  2. How fun — percolator or teapot! I love your thinking 🙂 I think I am a teapot — of course I love tea! But I like the percolating thinking and think I will give it a try! I also loved happy sipping!!!! Very clever!

  3. I’m also a bit of both. Most of my stories have gone from notes and scribbles in my sketchbook to full first drafts on my laptop. They’ve needed lots of polishing after, but that initial outpouring after brewing is just like what you talk about. It’s not that I was doing anything consciously, but writing that way because it felt natural. Now I know why…makes sense! Thanks for this post.

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