Posts Tagged ‘writing methods




There is always a need for tools to get a job done. No matter the job, like Apple’s app store, “there’s a tool for that!”

But how much of the work is the tool responsible for? Specifically in a creative endeavor. Does it matter if you’re working with a scrap of paper and a Bic pen, or a Pixar-level Mac Pro or something in between, or can the same work be done with anything?

I’m inclined to believe the former. To some extent, the tools inform the work. The method by which something is done seems like the sort of thing that would bleed in, like a lot of external stimuli. Or maybe that’s just me. But I don’t think so.

George R. R. Martin insists in hacking away on a decrepit copy of WordStar – though I don’t know if he uses the truly relic-worthy Commodore 64 version – and Stephen King claims to have written Dreamcatcher on “one of the finest writing tools,” a Waterman fountain pen. George’s work – to me, at least – frequently feels reptilian, neolithic, a relic of an older era where the lizard brain and the id were in charge. Dreamcatcher was long, pretty and frequently, pretentious. But that’s just my opinion.

I can see it in my own work; if something was written longhand, it tends to be quick and terse. Probably because it hurts like hell to hold a pen for any length of time, and my handwriting is almost illegible after twenty minutes or so. If I take to the tablet, I’m liable to be fairly wordy, but stick to short words and avoid made up ones. Fighting with cursor positioning and Siri being overly insistent with the autocorrect just isn’t my idea of a good time. Move to the desktop? My full vocabulary might is unleashed… much to some folks’ dismay, I’m sure.

What about you folks out there? Do your tools change the final work, or do you think it’s all hogwash? Let us know down below!


Fits and Starts

Many of the writing gurus will tell you that you must set aside a schedule, that you must dictate a time – be it 15 minutes, half an hour, an hour, whatever – that each day you shall perform your writing duties, as if it is some sort of chore, something to be marked off on a checklist.

That may even work for some people. I am not one of those people, I have found. Much like “you must write 2,000 words a day” or “ten pages must be laid out by 10 PM,” setting a goal of this type tends to increase my resistance, my stubbornness, and my guilt when a day inevitably comes when I can’t meet that goal due to health or work issues.


What works for me is short bursts when I get the urge. When I don’t push myself, when I don’t say “I must write at 10AM for one hour” but rather in the course of the day say “Hey, I should scribble this down.” I find myself drifting naturally to the computer chair in between bouts of Binding of Isaac or YouTube binging or reading. I work until I’m tired or the current thought exhausts itself, then drift away again.

And know what? At the end of the day, I’ve usually managed at least a few pages on one of my works, a blog post or two, a new book review, and have generally been productive. Much more so than when I am putting mandates on myself.

So what about those of you out there? Do you subscribe to the checklist method, or come to the typewriter as the muse wills it? Have you tried both? What are your pros and cons on each side? Let us know down below!

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