1. Foxe
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    Foxe Active Member

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    The merit of just writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Foxe, Sep 8, 2015.

    Today I have finished my short story.

    Three quarters of it was written months ago, and then, at its climax, I stopped writing; I froze, feared writing something terrible, over-thought everything from how it could unfold to how I couldn't finish it.

    Months passed, and writing fiction fell behind writing poetry and living life (relationships take up a lot of time... and careers, too - who knew!)

    I told myself today, "just write." And that's just what I did. I put aside all preconceived notions, pretexts, excuses, and just wrote, wrote and wrote. I wrote 3500 words, good (but unedited) words. My goodness, what a feeling! If I can maintain this rate, I can truly embark on a larger project and see it to its fruition.

    My my point here is therefore to add to the litany of "just write" encouragements and platitudes for those stuck in a rut as I often find myself. Think of something you'd like to write, and write it out. You may have a good idea of your plot, you might have a general direction, you might have none of that, but write and the words will flow. Edit later if you're a terrible first drafter, and be proud that you've put words to paper.

    Happy long weekend, folks.
     
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  2. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I understand the logic behind this technique, but I just can't do it. I certainly couldn't do it using my WiP because it's too precious to suddenly feed 3,000 words of drivel into, and if I was to set that aside and just write something else for the sake of it, I would consider it a waste of time and end up thinking, "Damn! I could have spent all that time working on my novel."

    If I'm writing, it's on my novel, and that means thinking carefully about what I'm writing.
     
  3. Foxe
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    Foxe Active Member

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    These words weren't drivel (which I understand with this technique they could be). Secondly, I knew how I wanted the story to unfold, and so instead of spending time deliberating, I wrote it out. Now I have a finished story, and words to edit rather than an unfinished work and nothing to edit.

    I think the 'just write' technique works if you have an idea of where you want to story to go. Otherwise it can be drivel, as you say.
     
  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I think people underestimate this advice because they've started a habit of waiting till a muse or eureka moment strikes. Just write is initially the same thing without the waiting. Good ideas will come while you're writing you don't just have to think them first then write.

    Since my writing is 80% rewrites polish and tweaking anyway, just writing works for me. The hardest thing though is getting over the initial rough patch of starting the habit.
     
  5. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    This works for me. Often I feel like I'm writing drivel but when I come back to it in a better frame of mind, it reads pretty well.
     
  6. Voice
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    I agree with the process of 'just write'. It never matters what kind of work my fingers spill upon the virtual page as long as it fills me with rapture by the end -


    or it could just be drivel that I adore. :p
     
  7. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Can I just clarify something with those of you who use this technique. When you 'just write', is it as part of your WiP or something separate as mere practice?

    And if it's the former, does it not concern you that you may be writing X amount of words that you may end up scrapping anyway?
     
  8. Voice
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    I can scrap 1 word or 10000 words, makes no matter to me. It's all about story, what the story wants.

    Sometimes it's a w.i.p., sometimes thoughts, sometimes breaking down scenes - sometimes my most secret desires @'@

    What it boils down to, for me, is getting some writing down, no matter what kind of day I've had, no matter anything. Muses are not reliable so I am my muse, or rather, my imagination is and besides, I can always use something I've jotted down for something else.
     
  9. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    @OurJud for me, my WIP. Though I have taken breaks to write short stories, which I found helpful. I wasn't too worried about the quality of those. It doesn't concern me that I might be writing something I'll later delete. I've written an entire 90k draft, hardly all of which made it into the second draft. It wasn't wasted time because I couldn't have written my current draft without going through that first.
     
  10. Bookster
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    Bookster Banned

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    Both. A lot of what I write for my WIP as well as for other stuff ends up being scrapped. I finally broke myself of the habit of editing as I write or insisting that every word has to be the exact right one before I put it down.

    I once heard an interview with a popular author where he was asked if he wrote every day. "Of course." he said, in a surprised tone. "If I were a plumber or a lawyer, I'd go to work every day. I don't think it should be any different for a writer."

    That's exactly the way I look at it.
     
  11. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is what I long for in my writing, almost above anything else. My brain simply won't allow it, though.

    This is my brain as I'm writing: "Whoa! Slow down there, laddy. Let's start by re-reading the chapter you wrote last night... I'm sure there's some stuff in there you could word better. When you've spent a couple of hours doing that, we may move on to writing some fresh stuff, but listen up. I want you to review each and every sentence after you've written it, and spend ten minutes or so thinking if you could structure or word them in a more effective way. Then you can move on to the next sentence and repeat the process. If we're lucky, you may get down as many as 600 words in the four hours of tonight's session."
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015
  12. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I was the same for a long time. There's hope for you!
     
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  13. Foxe
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    Foxe Active Member

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    To clarify, it's not just writing for the sake of writing necessarily. The aim of 'just write' is to actually sit down and work on your piece. Yes, you will still be thinking about what you're writing, and yes you are conscious of what you want to say, but you allow it to spill out rather than put a dam to your creative thoughts by overthinking, overanalyzing the small things which will otherwise bog you down and keep you from writing.
     
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  14. Voice
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    Voice Member

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    600? That's really good going. Nothing to be worried about.
     
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  15. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thing is, Voice, I could quadruple that if I just got on with it.
     
  16. Voice
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    Then what's stopping you, OurJud?

    If it’s looking for perfection well, I think we all want our works to be perfect but really, is anything perfect? Are you? Am I? Isn't that what writing is? A reflection of our imperfection?


    I'd rather write a thousand imperfect works that has wrought a million tears or a trillion shouts of laughter from readers because they felt what my characters feel, and walk alongside my characters no matter where they tread.


    Words are so wonderful and to have the ability to write 600 words of story down every day is such an achievement.



    Be proud. :)
     
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  17. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Concerned? Not really. Most of my writing gems come from the idea or the execution of it which may not always happen first draft anyway. I'll throw out stuff whether I push through a scene or carefully construct one. There's no avoiding it.

    The main issue I've had with just writing is the dead end situation. I come to a scene which could go two or three ways I pick one and write it only to discover it's all wrong. Before I used to just power on with the story and fix it later. Now, I back peddle and fix the scene until I'm satisfied. Which just happened to me a few days ago.

    Here's the thing - Waiting or not waiting for a muse/inspiration doesn't guarantee better writing. I could wait for the perfect scene to come to mind - but it will still need tweaks and polish. For the same time I could write something sloppy, ditch it and write something better. Neither will be perfect. And no technique is essentially better - but with just writing - you're staying in tune with your work so it could feel a bit smoother and could be easier for you to stay in the groove of the story. Especially for a first draft.
     
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