Saturday, May 29, 2010

Writing 24/7

Whether a writer is published or not, people will ask a writer two things over & over again.

1. How does one write?

2. When do you write?

There are multiple classes one can take, and books one can buy, to answer the first question. However the short answer is, know your basic story before you type the first page. Know the beginning, the end, and outline what it’s going to take to get from the beginning to the end. You’ll change the details umpteen times, don’t worry about that. Just know where you’re going and have fun paving the path along the way.

As for things such as voice, point of view, word usage, story flow, chapter structure, and punctuation, make novels, well written blogs, and magazines your text books. Yes, enjoy the works, of course. While you’re enjoying the writing though, pay attention to how chapters begin and end, pay attention to the descriptive words being used to paint mental pictures, pay attention to punctuation, and pay attention to the way the writing flows from one idea/scene to another.

Now, when do writers write? The answer is, we’re writing 24/7. Sitting at the computer/typewriter/pad & pen is merely the last step in the writing process. A good writer is constantly observing life, making mental notes, and refining ideas.

When you’re riding the bus and the lady, who’s telling you the CIA has put Jesus’ brain inside a robot, inspires a character, you’re writing.

When you’re strolling through the mall, while mentally reconstructing paragraphs, you’re writing.

When you’re reading the work of another author, and learning the craft, you’re writing.

When you’re lying awake at three in the morning, trying to figure out what will motivate your character to open the closet door and find the body, you’re writing.

When you’re talking to your mother about a nurse, who was intent on diagnosing her with the newest medical fad, and you say, “Medical fads would make an interesting blog,” you’re writing. (Side note: Once I do some research, medical fads will probably be my next blog.)

Some of my best poems were mentally composed during long strolls around town, and were typed when I got home. While the act of typing recorded the works, the strolls themselves were integral parts of the writing process. Even nocturnal dreams can serve as key pieces of inspiration.

Of course, one eventually has to stop strolling through the mall, sit at a desk, an record the mental compositions of the day.


  1. I think most of the time I find myself writing when I'm cleaning. I guess it's just soothing to me, and that's when my mind is so open.