Writing: Ur Doin it Rong

I saw this in an author post somewhere on the ’net:

Thinking isn’t writing.
Outlining isn’t writing.
Research isn’t writing.
Rewriting isn’t writing.

Putting pen to paper is writing.


That’s odd, because I’ve been writing in my head for years, starting circa fifth grade when I couldn’t understand the concept of an outline, but could construct a well-organized essay in my head after a great deal of reading, assimilating, and thinking. When I finally put pen to paper, the work was already done.

Get that? The hard part was not done on the paper. Ever.

And here I am, thirty years, innumerable essays, a gazillion blog posts, a few short stories, a novella or two, a speech or four, two screenplays and one stage play, ten novels, three agents, and a writing degree later, still constructing fairly well organized works in my head, and sometimes after much research. Not only that, but I write out of order.

So I have to put some scenes and ideas down on paper before the story can be fully realized. So what. Let’s face it: a novel is not an essay.

I do a lot of thinking.

I don’t outline as it is understood.

I research.

Then I rewrite. A lot. In my head.

And voila! A novel.

Now, I can write on spec, but I prefer not to. I prefer to take time to assimilate information, to percolate fleshed-out characters and their motives, to ask “Why?” a lot and attempt to plug all the logical fallacies myself, but it gets done.

What I find curious about such assertions is the assumption that that person’s experience is, to him, universal, and then proceeds to instruct the world at large that his way is the only way.

So. Authors. When you get stuck wandering around the ’net gathering advice and feeling guilty because you don’t write “right,” remember this: Writing, like life, is a journey, not a destination. You have to find your own way.

Whatever allows you to produce a finished product works. And why mess with what works?


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