dord (dôrd), n. density of mind; chiefly exhibited by one who attempts to demonstrate supposed knowledge --adj. dord'ish


The Habits of a Writer

I have a question or two for all of you writers--bloggers or otherwise. Do you have a general habit in recording your thoughts and ideas? Do you write more often out of sudden inspiration, or is your writing the product of spending much time working thoughts out in your mind?

I find that my writing is a bit of a mixture. The development of my ideas often starts quickly, but then the ideas require time to polish off. When an idea comes to me (anything from a short story to a blog post), I think about it for awhile, and it begins to expand quickly. Sometimes this happens only in my thoughts; sometimes I'll write the ideas down as they come. But what I've found is that this initial thinking spurt often produces many ideas that, though related, lack continuity; I know that they are connected, but I'm not sure how to show it.

This brings me to a second characteristic of my writing: with the exception of what I write during my devotional time, I always use a computer. This helps a lot, because I virtually never write anything from start to finish. Rather, I write out the different thoughts that I have, expand them, and then try to remember how I had wanted to connect them. Thus I begin with five or six separate lines, which then grow into paragraphs, get reordered (what would I do without cut-and-paste?) and finally begin to resemble an ordered sequence of thoughts.

Back to the issue of sudden inspiration versus long development. Frequently, after madly typing out all that I can and beginning a revision, I come to an impasse. The surge of inspiration has been released, and I find myself slowed by the nitty-gritty of fully developing a thought or ensuring that the writing has a natural flow. Whether I sit so long that I run out of time to continue, or whether I simply need more time to think, I usually leave a project in-progress for a time. In fact, few of my posts have been written in one sitting. (The monthly quotes are an obvious exception--it would be sorry indeed if I couldn't type out one of those at one time.) That is why I have so many posts in my "Draft" folder. There are a number of topics that I have needed to think about further, but I haven't yet gotten around to finishing them.

So there you have it: a behind-the-scenes look at how I write, a topic which I'm sure you've all been dying learn about. [Sarcasm, in case you weren't certain.] A final characteristic of my writing--in this case, my blogging--is that I like to involve those who take the time to read my thoughts by asking to hear theirs. [Pride check: in actuality, this may be nothing more than a way of garnering comments.] Thus, I ask you to return to the questions I asked at the beginning of this post. What are your writing habits?

Finally, for the curious: no, I didn't write this in one sitting.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

That last line made me think of The Johnbehrens :-P

I write poetry in one sitting. I lose the rhythm of the piece if I stop and think about ANYTHING. It's weird. One of my poems is lost forever because the computer at school crashed...and I lost it...and I can only remember 2 gorgeous lines that mean nothing when taken out of the poem's context...*sob* ANYway :-P

I generally write my blog posts in one "sitting," but I'm often multitasking and leave a post to percolate while pursuing other priorities (alliteration!). I write school papers in as close to 1 sitting as I can get. They're more cohesive that way, and I seem to get better grades on those papers (including all-nighter research papers) than the ones that take multiple sessions to write.

I think this is because I write in my mind. The American style of writing an exposition is so embedded in my brain that I usually think along such a pattern and my writing flows naturally.

Now, I beg of you, tell me how this comment can in any way bolster your pride? It's all about me! :-P

Rickety Kids Like Candy, Ignorantly Doing Something Good

10/13/2006 5:43 PM

Blogger Jason said...

This was a two-sitting post, but in this case the reason I didn't originally finish it was that I started writing it at school and had to leave to go to my next class.

The lost poem... I know the feeling (somewhat... I can't say I've ever written beautiful poetry, let alone lost it). Computers can be a wonderful thing; then they do something crazy and you start looking for a sledgehammer :-P

Ugh, research papers... just so you don't try to do the writing and the research in one sitting...

"Now, I beg of you, tell me how this comment can in any way bolster your pride? It's all about me! :-P"
--I'm sure you know the feeling: you find a comment on your blog and you suddenly feel more important in a wow-I-said-something-and-someone-actually-read-it-and-found-it-worth-their-time-to-respond sort of way. :-P

10/13/2006 6:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's see here. I, too, have different habits for different contexts.If it is important to me, I'll pursue as much polishing as possible. Save for blog comments, I will always begin with that archaic instrument we once knew as a pencil. From there I will, if circumstance dictates, move to a computer; if I make this move too quickly, however, I think there is detriment.

If the piece of prose is not too precious, I will generally write it all at once, and the results are often not very satisfatory even by my reckoning.

Poetry, that art I talk more ABOUT than anything, I write in one sitting, a real cloudburst of inspiration, though I will polish it for ages thereafter.

Then there is that which I write not, for fear of writing it prematurely, and that will care for itself. I let it sit in the leaf-mould of my imagination until it will be full grown and blossom quite naturally.

As for loosing things on the computer, I've had a handfull of scares and sorrows. I have the same problem,however, with my multiple five-subject notebooks. I can't ever find what I want until hours of searching or years of waiting have past. Maybe that's an overstatement.


10/16/2006 6:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaah! I have Jason Syndrome! Of the last 5 things I've written for my blog, I've only published 2...the others are waiting for editing! Hehehe...maybe I'm not quite as whatever-I-write-is-what-you-get (WIWIWYG) as I thought I was...

Kids Run In Weird Routes, Yelling

10/23/2006 11:51 PM


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