Cutting and Pasting

Today I cut and pasted my second chapter into some semblance of order. I enjoy turning writing into a tactile process. Below is a quick how-to.

Supplies needed:

  • All writing from the past two months, printed
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Box of markers
  • Bed
  • Tea


  1. Sit on the middle of the bed with all supplies in front of you. Keep your tea close at hand on a solid surface.
  2. Read through all writing and cut up at appropriate points, usually wherever the direction, topic, or ideas shift.
  3. Sip tea as needed.
  4. Glue together any sections printed on separate pieces of paper that go together
  5. Make piles by themes and flow. You gotta feel it out.
  6. Write notes in whatever color marker feels most appropriate at the moment. Color-coded schemas might result. Yellow marker works well to highlight important passages.
  7. Draw pictures on scrap pieces of paper as necessary. (I enjoy drawing pictures of major emerging themes)
  8. Continue cutting, gluing, markering, shuffling, and arranging until satisfied. Keep in mind the end bits are the most tedious.
  9. Remember that some bits of writing might end up in the bin.
  10. When it feels complete, stand up and admire your work.
  11. Document the moment for posterity and in case something horrible happens that scatters all your hard work before you have time to transfer the results to a more apparently-orderly medium (such as the computer).

I love this process because it makes the mess of my brain and my computer files more palpable. Seeing as how I am writing about senses, this feels highly appropriate.


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