Writing the Way that Works for YouPosted: August 22, 2016
There are many ways to write story. In his book, On Writing, author Stephen King claims he started out as a kid, printing out stories on a drum printer in his basement, using grape jelly for ink. Some of us older generation writers remember hammering out our stories on manual or electric typewriters, whiting out the errors and going back to manually making corrections.
With the dawn of the technological revolution the way we write changed for most of us. At the 2012 Writing the Rockies Conference, author Kevin J. Anderson told how he wrote while hiking through the hills surrounding the Gunnison Valley by using a hand held digital recorder to dictate his story, then having his assistant transcribe it and type it up on the computer for him. I tried his method, but found I needed to see the words on the page, or screen in front of me.
No one way is right. Different methods work for different writers. When I first started writing I wrote everything long hand, then typed it out on an electric typewriter. The advantage to this methods was that by the time I typed it up, it was like a second draft and I could edit and make changes as I went. The downside was the enormous amount of White Out I went through, because I’m a lousy typist and the incredible amount of time it took to produce a piece of work worthy of submission. It was so bad, I actually gave up on writing for several years, until I discovered the world of computers in 2008. Computers allowed me to edit as I write, and although I’ve been cautioned against it by many of my college professors, I still do it. It works for me and produces first drafts that require minimal amount of editing.
Unfortunately, my computer recently crashed. My son, who is also my techie, has been unable to fix it. He thinks I fried my mother board. Bottom line – I need a new computer, and I’m forced to go back to writing everything long hand once more, at least until I can get a new one. But, what I’m finding, is that writing long hand requires a different mind set for me than writing on the computer. Robin touched on this, as well, in last week’s Weekly Writing Memo on Overcoming the Blank Page.
On the computer, I can multi-task, switching to online research or other activities when I get held up for words. Writing long hand, if I get held up, I find myself staring off into space to gather my thoughts. It also seems more difficult to me, but that may be because I have to transfer my words from page to screen whenever I can get access to public computers at the library.
All of this got me thinking about the different ways there are to write and what works for others. How do you like to write? Are you an old school writer who still writes long hand? Do you use more than one method, writing different stories in different ways as Robin suggested? Leave a comment and let me know. If nothing else it will be interesting.