Every writer has a technique. If they don’t, should they?
I am posing a few questions here that have been on my mind lately regarding the subject. My thoughts on each follow, but really, I would like to know what other writers – both established and aspiring – have to say.
Modus operandi – write every day or when the moment is right?
A lot of the material I have read on what makes a good writer seems to suggest that you must write every day.
I have a problem with this because of two reasons:
- My journey with writing – both the long term one as well as the every day one – has been and is fraught with interruptions – mainly other commitments and responsibilities I have that I also take very seriously. Writing every day is not a practical goal for me.
- I find that my best writing takes place when the ‘moment is right’. When I am either suddenly inspired or feeling really depressed or feeling really confident – essentially, when I am experiencing a strong emotion that allows me to get into my ‘writing zone’. My ‘writing zone’ is a state of mind that feels like a natural high. In such moments the thoughts effortlessly flow from my mind onto the paper (or keyboard as the case may be). I become like a horse with blinkers, able to see my goal with tunnel vision. Everything around me just fades into the background and my thoughts are expressed on paper exactly the way I feel them in my mind. Appropriate words, clever metaphors and watertight sentences magically seem find their way into paragraphs I am delighted to say I wrote.
But sadly, this doesn’t happen every day. When my mind isn’t ‘cluttered’ with other undertakings and is free to view things from the perspective I have just described, then there is a chance that it might happen. Oh, how I treasure those moments!
On a side note, a lot of my moments of clarity regarding what I want to write about and the best way to write it appear when I am taking a shower! The realisation of this fact was a bit unsettling for me, but after I stumbled across a post by a fellow blogger who writes very well, I am relieved. It would appear I am in good company!
It has been about two months since I have started writing again after a long break and also since I’ve started this blog. I’m finding that my answer to Question 1 lies somewhere in the middle. I may not write every day, but I am definitely writing more often and I think it IS helping me become a better writer. The practice is slowly training my mind to get in tune with the outcome I desire – to get close to the goal of putting into words EXACTLY what is on my mind and to get into my ‘writing zone’ more often.
I think my method for the time being is to:
– Write as often as possible – for practice.
– Write for sure (or try as far as possible to push everything else aside and write) when I am having a ‘right for writing’ moment, for there is no greater high than writing when lucidity strikes.
What is your modus operandi when it comes to writing? What works for you?
What to write – fiction or non-fiction?
I guess this is either a personal preference or depends on what you are good at, but I’d like to share my experience with both.
While I have written some fiction in the past, till now my blog has only contained my non-fiction writing – my thoughts and feelings on experiences, relationships and life in general. I imagined that would be easier to write about. You experience something, you write it down – simple. Well, not so in my case. Writing non-fiction seems to be more difficult for me. For some reason when I add the element of fiction, even if it stems from something I have experienced, I find I am able to express myself more accurately.
I’ve asked myself why this is. Do I feel safer or less vulnerable when I put my thoughts out there via ‘someone else’? Perhaps I imagine I won’t be judged or ridiculed. “It’s just fiction. It’s not ‘me’ saying it.”
Or is it that with fiction I am able to add any amount of ‘drama’ to what I have to say, allowing my writing the opportunity to become more powerful or intelligent?
Do you write fiction or non-fiction or both? Which do you prefer? Which do you find easier and why?
Where to begin – with a story or with a thought?
In other words, do you have definite thoughts that become what you write about or a basic, but sometimes vague thought that you explore through your writing, the outcome of which becomes apparent only once you’re done writing a piece?
Does your writing help you explore thoughts or is it a way to share, narrate or document what you already know?
For me sometimes it’s this and sometimes it’s that, but I think it is important for me to recognise when it is which. It is important that I know what I’m doing when I write a piece. I think I would lose myself otherwise. This post for example, stemmed from a thought that I am exploring as I write. My post Inadvertent Life Lessons From My Son’s First Year however was all thought out in my head before I put it down on paper.
There are of course a hundred questions one could ask on the subject of writing technique, but for now I am limiting myself to exploring just these three.
Examination of my own writing has made me realise that I do not have a clearly defined technique. It seems to be more of an adaptable one.
Should I be worried? Could I be a better writer if I had a stricter, more defined method?
Or when it comes to writing technique, is it simply a case of different strokes for different folks?
Thank you for reading and do let me know what you think.