Musings on the Art of Writing

As a child, I discovered fantastic worlds created in books. When I began writing about the worlds of my own imagination, I realized how hard authors work to set their characters free to live for our enjoyment. This blog will explore that weird and wonderful process.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I used to cut out newspaper comics related to writing and plaster them over my fridge.  When they became yellowed and tattered, I'd stuffed them into an envelop for future inspiration.  Some, I eventually used to create a workbook for a workshop I ran for elementary kids.  One I remember called Shoe had a cigar smoking newspaper editor asking his reporter (who was looking out the window) why he wasn't pounding the keyboard writing a story.  The reporter's reply was that typists pound keyboards whereas writers stare out windows.

Obviously, every writer must get the story in their heads into the hands of a reader (by pounding the keyboard) but first, they must 'stare out windows'.  By doing this, they can organize the scenes playing out inside their heads.  To those watching, it appears as if the writer is doing nothing but whole conversations could be rattling around their brain.  Snippets of description or complicated plot twists swirl through one's mind when in the heat of 'writing' a story.  Staring out the window can often be the key to sorting out problems before any word is typed.  Sometimes years go by without a single word being written and often writer's families wonder if they are actually working.

Recently, I've found myself in this weird state where I have many ideas on how my next novel will unfold and I've spent a few years researching its background.  Just as I feel it's time to 'pound the keyboard', a tantalizingly new idea erupts or my research leads to another line of thinking.  My novel is stuck at three short chapters and even though I know where I will eventually end up, new ideas have shifted its focus.  However, you will not find me staring out my office window.

I find that I do my best thinking while exercising (see yesterday's post).  This has the bonus in that people don't think I'm crazy when I'm working on a story.  I walk, do yoga, or lift weights.  Each activity is easy enough to allow my mind wander.  Knitting is also good and bonus, you have made something more than a novel when you're done.  Every writer needs these times of calm so their minds can race and their emotions soar with those characters who populate their thinking.  Real life has a way of distracting even the most dedicated writer so if you feel the need to create, perhaps staring out the window (or its equivalent) will help.

No comments:

Post a Comment