Sunday, September 12, 2010

To Think or Not To Think

I was trying to get caught up on reading my newsletters, and one editor's comment was that thinking about writing was not writing. Wait a minute, I thought. Wasn't this the same newsletter editor who only a few weeks ago extolled the virtues of spending your time wisely, of doing double-duty by thinking about your writing while washing the dishes or pulling weeds? Indeed, this was the same newsletter editor. So … wasn't that a contradiction?

I paused (briefly) to think about that. I didn't like to; my feeling is that if the reader has to stop and puzzle out what's been written, then the writing needs improvement. But this is what I came up with, absent asking that editor to clarify her meaning: If ALL you are doing is thinking about writing, then you aren't writing.

Well, duh.

On the other hand, I have to have some time for thinking, or I can't write. What better time to figure out a character's back story than those last few minutes before falling asleep? Why not explore different scene outcomes while doing housework drudgery? And I can't think of a more pleasant way to spend a long trip than by engaging in some semi-directed day-dreaming about a story I'm working on.

The way I see it, thinking about writing is fine. But the job doesn't get done if you never put those thoughts down on paper. Or computer screen, these days.

Now, let's have a show of hands. What are you doing while you think out the details of your story?

See ya next week.    Trudy

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