Home » Books*Authors*Pubs » Writing: Ur Doin it Rong

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.

Really.

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?

10 thoughts on “Writing: Ur Doin it Rong

  1. Thank you so much for this!

    Everyone definitely has (and needs) their own way. Maybe even many ways…

    What works well and feels right for me depends entirely on the topic, and what works best overall is writing the headline and my glut of thoughts into an email, sending it to myself, stuffing it in a email folder to simmer for a month or more, than returning to it to expand on, edit, and publish.

    I came to that through experimenting with methods other use successfully. None of the other ways stuck with me, and percolatin’ does best. And waiting to write until I absolutely can’t help myself.

    Can’t imagine where I got *that* idea from, yeh? ;-)

  2. 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.

    Yes!

    Writing, like life, is a journey, not a destination. You have to find your own way.

    And yes again.

  3. Can’t imagine where I got *that* idea from, yeh?

    I don’t know what you’re talking about.

  4. While that is not the post I was responding to (obviously), I did have it in my mind while I was writing this post.

    Excellent post, BTW, in case I never said it.

  5. While that is not the post I was responding to (obviously)

    LOL. I think know the inspiration. I agree with you.

    It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that it just takes me longer than I’d like to write the symphony of characters and their problems out in my head before I commit them to paper. If I write down a substitution of what I really want to say and come back to it later, I can and have lost my original intent that I never managed to flesh out in my head. That drives me crazy. Better to write it down when I know it’s good.

    That being said, FOR MYSELF ALONE, I know I will need to pick up the pace in order to write full-time. I don’t want to edit other people’s work anymore or write copy for companies anymore, so I need to figure out how to fix things in my head faster than I do now.

  6. I think know the inspiration.

    *ahem* Yes. Well.

    I know I will need to pick up the pace in order to write full-time.

    The thing is that it’s awesome that you know that. I guess the whole point of my post is to know yourself.

    Me? I couldn’t write full-time. It would drive me batshit crazy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>