Welcome to Ryley Writes, a collection of thoughts, stories, and work from deep in the heart of Texas.

High-Five Friday: Rinse & Repeat

shoutout my iPhone and Costa Rica miss u

It's Friday AND my birthday, so it's a double happy weekend. You're all welcome. Cue the post.

What I'm working on:

Finishing the December missions publication! We're due to print on November 9th, so I've been hunkered down finishing stories. The plan is to dedicate all of next week to layout, which will be more visually interesting for you guys; but since this week was all writing, I posted about that process on my Instagram story and figured I could share it here, as well.

Step 1 — interviews! This is actually the most fun part.

Step 2 — transcribe the interviews! This is actually the least fun part. Also, not everyone does it; but for me, going back and listening to the material over again when I can focus on the content and not on the conversation is really important to my story organization. Having it written out makes it easy to highlight the parts I'll include (or, alternatively, for longer stories, search the document for key words/topics if I'm coming up short on word count and need filler). It also lets me make notes that I might otherwise forget; like the interviewee's emotional response to parts of the narrative, laughter, and context that dry quotes wouldn't convey. So it's incredibly tedious and boring, yes, but it makes everything else down the line better and easier.

Step 3 — write the actual story!

Step 4 — send the story to Omar for edits. This is so I don't misspell an entire region of Honduras, mix up the names of missionaries we work with, bore everyone to death, etc. He prefers analog editing (as do I, actually), so usually this looks like him printing off the story, marking it up, and us meeting in the work room to go over it and brainstorm. Some people don't like seeing their writing covered in red pen. To those people, I say: you gotta get over it. This is how your writing gets better.

Step 5 — drop the edited version into the layout and format.

Rinse and repeat!

Randoms for your weekend:

  • A friend sent me this video in response to my last post, and it's awesome.
  • I wish I had a great reason why (I don't), but somehow I found and started following Ranchlands and a host of folks who work on Zapata ranch. They've been working bison all week, and I've just been over here on Instagram following along, and anyway. Like I said, I have no good explanation. It's interesting. I just like it. Kill some time, check it out.
  • I'm going on a road trip and Reagan made me a playlist because she is cooler than me and nice and my bff.
  • I had at least 10 people ask me about the BUENO ring I wear this week, which is great, because then I get to tell them about Mucho Mucho Bueno Bueno. (Of course, a lot of times their follow-up question is, "So... there's not like, a real reason you wear a ring that says BUENO?" Um, fun? Fun, is the reason? Why are you also not fun?)
  • I bought a print copy of National Geographic specifically for this story — not because it was necessarily that enlightening, but because the photos are just too good.

Way Way Out

When I Grow Up