My Idiosyncrasies with Writing

My Idiosyncrasies with Writing
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Mike Licht @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/notionscapital/

I have some quirks with in my writing habits and techniques I need help in curbing. If there was any writing group in this little town, I’d be finding a way to become a member and would attend the meeting regularly. Unfortunately, the bulk of this community is middle-aged to seniors trying to stay youthful through physical activities. I can understand this endeavor and would probably join them if I could. I looked into online writing groups as an option, and even ended up joining one, Writing.Com. The spontaneous give and take isn’t there. If their chat room was more active, I could discern how it might help, if only in part.

I read some of the blogs writing by writers, both from professionals and hobbyists. Many have written posts about their routine for writing. They list what they do first, second, third, et cetera. All points are worthwhile to consider for the one who is reading these posts. Still, the bulk of these sites aren’t reaching to what I surmise to need right now.

One of the items listed seems to always be included is have a quiet place to write. This is a must for me. Without the quiet, there isn’t a chance in hell I’ll be able to write anything coherent.

I’ve come across people who are able to write while at a coffee shop, a park, or wherever. How do they do that? Do they wear earplugs? Do they have some magical way to block out what is going on around them? There are times when even the whisper of the furnace or air conditioner will distract me.

Could it be it’s a case of me having overly sensitive hearing? I can’t see how that could be possible considering the fact that part of my disability entails tone deafness in my right ear. If anything, I don’t hear well enough.

I could be having issues with staying focused. In truth, I know this already. It’s another part of my disability. Some of my cognitive functions have been damaged, concentration being one of the big ones. The only solution I’ve come up with to successfully manage this deficiency is to have my surroundings as quiet as possible when I’m working on anything I deem important.

Another item I see on many of these writing habit lists is a solid routine. I fall short in this area but have nothing to blame it on other that my reluctance to organize my days better. I want to think of myself as an organizing freak because it’s one of the things that keeps my memory sharp. The reality is I fall short of my goal in this area.

To avoid responsibility, I guess I could blame it on my husband’s work schedule. I’m a morning person, yet his job shift is late afternoon to late evening. I could tell you how ingrained my natural habits are, but the truth is I probably could change the time my creative juices are flowing if I tried hard enough. Between five o’clock and six o’clock in the early evening, I get what is called my second wind. On good days, it will last until approximately 8 o’clock. That isn’t a lot of time for writing, but, with determination, it could make a good chunk of creative typing. This may also solve the problem with noise I seem to be so susceptible to. Enforcing this within me is my challenge.

An item I see on lists that I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around is when to do any of the editing. I know that in order to get a good train of thought going, a writer should just write. Forget about misspelled words, grammar errors, and questions about the flow of the script. I know I should just keep on writing until I feel done, at least for a short while.

Yet, I find myself stopping to look up a word in the Thesaurus or Dictionary, or I know for certain I can make a phrase, sentence or a whole paragraph sound better and will stop to do that. These things can wait until I’m done with the initial writing. The way I’m doing it now, I’ll never get past the first draft.

My oddities may seem insignificant, but they wear on my mind, stopping me from putting full concentration on the craft. One way or another I must come to times with these idiosyncrasies.

 

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25 Replies to “My Idiosyncrasies with Writing”

  1. Glynis I know what you mean. A good writing good is like finding gold. I was lucky I had one where I used to live but have not found a replacement group although I’ve tried many in our new location. Something that I find effective for me is always stop mid sentence or paragraph. Not at the end of a paragraph or train of thought. I think it was Ernest Hemmingway who suggested this. I find it works because you can easily get into the flow again and it will take you on in a natural progression whereas stopping at the end how to start the next piece becomes a problem.

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    1. That’s an excellent idea, Irene. I’ve been writing one wholes scene in one session of writing, at least when I can. Yet because I’ve finished a scene, I have to get my juices flowing again the next time I sit down to write. This may limit that problem. Thanks 🙂

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  2. I’m one of those coffee shop people. I need a certain level of background noise for which to function. It all depends on what get’s you motivated, really, and it all depends on what you are writing.

    Different things need different environments. When I’m writing poetry, I tend to like the quiet. Having said that, most of my poetry comes to me when I’m out and about. I’ll see something, be inspired, and immediately need to write it down. I’ll then go back and edit it when I get home.

    You’ll learn with time what type of environment and what time of day suits you best. I’m not creative at all in the mornings, so that’s when I do blogging, answering of emails and such like. By afternoon I’m ready to write. I write best at night, probably because I have nothing other than sleep in my way.

    I’m a big one for the writing-and-leaving scenario. All of my poems are written in a little notebook and I’ll leave it a good few months before I go back and read what I have written. Because by then you’ve actually forgotten the words, and can view it with some perspective. Quite often I read things I’ve written and thing, man, I’m brilliant, but a lot of other time I look at it and think it’s shit. Or I look at it and see the potential it has, and have a clearer view on how to edit it.

    That’s all for now – hope all goes well with you!

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    1. It’s been decades since I’ve written a poem. Your idea has me thinking about trying some again because going back months later may be just what is needed to get it perfect or at least the closest thing to perfect. Thanks for the idea. 🙂

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  3. I have no suggestions. I don’t write regularly so when I do I’m usually so motivated I can block the world out. I do write from loud places sometimes as the moment is my motivation. I definitely do write on though before editing letting my passion guide me. I often don’t even look at the monitor as I type, going back when I find a ‘pause ‘ in my flow, to correct. I teach this method in my classes at school too – though I DO also teach how to construct a phrase/sentence/ paragraph/ written piece so they have the skills to edit later 🙂 Good luck as you find what works best for you 🙂

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    1. If I lived in a larger town, Linda, I’m positive that your suggestion would work fine for me. However, my town is small. I don’t drive except in emergency-type situations anymore and there isn’t a bus service here. In fact, every time I’ve called for a taxi (that was a couple of years ago when I’d be out of town every week), no one answered the phone. I’ve had to rely on relatives for transportation. This little town is in the South. I’m from the west. This means that I’m labeled as an outsider. Many people, although not all, here in the southern states of the US are very territorial. It isn’t as exclusive as it used to be but I’ll have to be here a while longer before I’m considered one of the crowd here.

      With this said though, your comment has spurred other ideas that I’m currently looking into. Thank you for your help, Linda. 🙂

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    1. The end? That’s going to be tough. I know you’re right but… I think I need to relearn how to outline a story. I think that’s the only way I could write until the end.

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  4. For me, I need to get the right word ‘at that moment,’ so I will do a search then. It may change my direction. My real editing is done at the end. I, too, am searching for that ideal spot. Being in a warm climate, I could go to the park around the corner. I get distracted easily when at home…. it is the Internet access! Of course, to write at the park means all research must be completed beforehand!

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    1. Yes, this is what I mean, Barbara. I must find the word that say exactly what I mean and I feel I must find it before I can go on with the writing. Because my PC is on DSL, I’m always online. Somehow it’s taken away the mesmerizing effect of the Internet for me.

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  5. I have been seeking to join a writing group in my area as well. It isn’t easy. Many are closed or are too far away. I think starting a my own my be an option. I too, am one who needs quiet as well. When I am surrounded by too many distractions I just can’t stay focused on the task at hand. So stay with it my friend, we all struggle with the same things you mentioned at one time or another.

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    1. Why is it that misery loves company?

      I truly wish I could one of those who can write anywhere at anytime and have such an ingrained huge passion that the right words would come to me automatically and I would give a da** about the spelling or grammar.

      It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one struggling so much. 😉

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  6. Hi, I enjoyed this.
    As far as your editing dilemma goes, I suggest writing down/looking up words as you read a book, rather than fighting with yourself over whether the word you’ve chosen for your writing works in its given context. This, hopefully, will take the pressure off you while writing (perhaps you can take comfort in knowing you are actively expanding your vocab in other ways) and make your reading time more active/less passive.
    Also, maybe you could try dividing your writing time into different areas. Evening is for creative, afternoon is for mindless journaling…again take the pressure off of yourself while keeping your brain going creatively. Just my two cents.

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    1. Kristen, I’m enjoying your posts as well. You have a marvelous sense of humor and at the same time, tell it like it is.

      As for the editing — I think I just have to buckle down harder and refuse to let myself do it during the first writing. Maybe doing the jellybean gift routine will do it.

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    1. Hi Justin

      Thank you for visiting my blog and I appreciate you commenting.

      I’ve tried timing myself, but it’s been a while since I’ve tried that method. When the alarm went off that last time long ago, it made me jump. I had gotten into a flow of writing and my mind was immersed in it. I guess I’m one of those who can keep on going as long as I can get a good start.

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  7. Glynis, I am like you. I stop till I find the exact word and I don’t have a specific time to write (I spend way too much time reading, writing and answering blog comments).
    I have belonged to a writers’ group but it has fizzled out. I am excited because I wonder if some of us could cook up something to help some of us online: How about an exclusive group, a private, closed WordPress blog where serious writer’s may post. Say a maximum of six members or something (not to become overwhelmed). The members would all have logon and password. I’ve thought of this time and again but haven’t found anyone who is looking for the same thing as me: a writers’ group. 🙂
    This may give other people the same idea to start their own manageable group. E-mail is too cumbersome but could also work. Even if the start-up is only two or three interested writers, I’m good to go. What do you think?
    A ‘small’ group would work best because it’s a private group. ??????????? 😉

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