More on writing


I can’t remember if I posted this before:  In regard to how I work as a writer (not writer/illustrator)—I might spend nights, days, weeks, even months thinking about the writing I want to do.  I will often lay in bed (just before falling asleep) and will ‘write’ scenes or entire stories in my head.  I either imagine the story in words or I can actually see it frame by frame as movie stills.  Sounds weird, I know.

Night after night I will start from the beginning and think a story as far as I can go.  Often adding new details, new insights, new twists.  I don’t worry about whether the ‘writing’ in my head is logical or not.  I simply tell myself the kind of story I’d love to read…or live!

And once I’ve thought about the story long enough I just know when the right time has come to sit down and do the mechanics of “writing” the story—either with a pen and notebook or on my laptop.

I tend to write the first rough draft all in one sitting.  I don’t think about the writing I just do the writing.  I just let the story come, or, as I’m always telling John “Let the story wash over you.  Don’t anticipate.”

On my laptop, after all the thinking about the writing is done (in my head) I can tap out 10, 15, 20, or more pages in a couple hours.  I’m a fast, accurate typist.   I don’t worry about the technical aspects of the writing at this point: punctuation, grammar, spelling, etc.  I just write.

And I try NOT to think about the writing.

That is the great advantage in knowing HOW to type.  Typing is the most important aspect of the mechanics of writing.   I don’t watch my fingers, I never take my eyes off my laptop screen as I watch the words appear and just let them come.  Not having to think about the mechanics of typing frees my mind up to concentrate on the writing, the storytelling.

It is so painful for me to watch someone struggling with one or two fingers on a keyboard and trying to write at the same time.  HOW can they even think about words when they are so preoccupied with finding the letters on the keyboard.

My advice:  Take two weeks and learn touch typing.  At the end of two weeks you should be able to type at least 35 wpm.

It’s like driving a car.  NO ONE in their right mind would just get into a car and assume they can drive without learning the mechanics of driving.

If you want to write, learn the mechanics of writing.

Trust me, it works.

One thought on “More on writing

  1. Constance Malloy

    I tried for years to teach my dance students to practice choreography that way: lay in bed, hear the music, and do the dance, over and over and over again. I could always tell the one’s who followed this advice. My writing is the same. I think about scenes all day long and when the scene is ready, I just sit down, turn myself over to it, and let the scene write itself.

    And, you are so right about the typing. My mother taught typing in the summers when I was little. I had to go to the classes with her and I would sit on the floor following her directions on an imaginary typewriter in front of me. I can still her melodic voice saying f-f-f-f, j-j-j-j, etc. (Her students probably didn’t realize the gift of rhythm she instilled in their typing.) By the age of 6, I was able to type, and now can type as quickly as I can think. Big bonus.

    Thanks again for sharing Olivier. Big gift your giving to all who read your blog.



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