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Writing a book, a story should be like writing a letter or blog

February 16, 2013

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Have you ever written a letter to a friend, a blog to people you regularly communicate with? Perhaps you’ve written that letter, composed that blog quite quickly. You didn’t hesitate when writing. You just kept banging out the words because you weren’t inhibited about what you had to say. The words flowed naturally. You didn’t stop to think, to ponder, to stare out the window to come up with the next word. Everything was done without much thought.

This is how we should approach all writing. Keep it simple, not difficult. You see, writing should not be hard. It should stem from our instincts, our first thoughts. When we hesitate, we lose that unimpeded stream of writing.

Of course, you’re thinking: It’s going to sound like crap. Don’t bet on it. Oh sure, it won’t be perfect, but that’s what editing is for – after you write it all out quickly. They’ll be misspellings, grammatical errors. But who cares? You can always edit later.

Write with your heart; edit it with your brain. It’s the best way. Get all it all out fast and you’ll have something to work with. Why muddle up the actual writing process with all that thinking?

If you don’t trust your instincts, your writing will suffer.

Try this exercise. Get a piece of paper and just start scribbling out the first thoughts that come to you. Perhaps it’s a trip you took last summer or the way you felt last week when the boss screamed at you at work. See what happens. Guess what? You may have a story.

How many of you out there write fast and write from the heart? I’d like to know.

 

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12 Comments
  1. I like the connection between writing for an imagined but familiar audience, and being able to embrace your instincts while writing. I think I can often be my worst critic, so thinking that I am writing for someone else might make it easier to just get words on the page. I’ll have to try this approach! Thanks!

  2. Great post! I might not be the fastest writer, but I do write from the heart. National Novel Writing Month taught me the consequences of not trusting my instincts 🙂

  3. I absolutely agree. First drafts for me are always scrambled together in a bout of passion in just trying to get the feel or idea down. You can always fix it up or rearrange it later., You’re not going to get as much done if you don’t. And most importantly (I think), when you love what you are writing about it definitely shows.

  4. I’m a very picky reader when it comes to fiction so my main intent when writing a novel is to write what I’d love to come across in an old bookstore. For me, it’s been great because I get to have that feeling you get when you stumble upon characters you love and never want the book to end. It always does and then you’re like “damn, I sure wish so-and-so wasn’t dead and still had a few more stories to tell.” I get to walk around dreaming about the people I write about, gathering info, planning events and exchanges and I’m not dead yet so I get to tell a few more stories!

  5. I would like to believe that I write from the heart. I have actually taken up letter writing which has helped a great deal. I am great believer in just getting it all out now and editing later.

  6. Thanks for your comment on my site. I have always written easily, like the post of mine that you commented. It just came and I have blogged like that for years. BUT now that I want to write a book, it stops and starts and I get overwhelmed with chapters matching, etc. I am considering writing my book on a blank blog site as a way to “trick” my mind. Ha!

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