Finding Words And Thoughts

It’s the 19th of May, and my challenge this year is to write a new blog post for each day of the month. So far, I’ve written only TEN blog posts! That’s not great. I need to catch up, and I need to do it fast. I’ve set an 800 word minimum for my posts this month, so if you’re following my blog you should probably expect to see a number of upcoming posts that are short and hopefully sweet, things that I churn out quickly in order to get to the next post.

I’ve gotten quite good at doing that kind of thing with short stories, but blog posts are a different kettle of fish. With writing short erotic fiction, especially stuff in the 800-word range, the only thing to focus on is the sex itself. There’s no time to say much else in that kind of project, although other stuff can be squeezed in. With blog posts, it’s all saying other stuff, which is less in my area of expertise than with writing highly-detailed sex scenes.

As I’ve mentioned before, the key to cranking out a lot of writing fast is learning to get out of your own way. You have to push all of your doubts aside, shove your insecurities into the basement and lock the door. You can’t spend time second-guessing or third-guessing everything that you type, because you’ve got to get through the word-count and move on to the next project, then the one after that, and so forth.

This is also where it becomes important to be what they call “fluent in writing.” Writing is a kind of language all its own, different from and more difficult than speech. Being fluent in writing means that the time it takes to translate the thoughts in your head onto the page are minimal. Ideally, you can more or less type out your thoughts as quickly as they occur.

Learning fluency in writing takes time and effort, which is why most writers hand out advice like “write every day” or “keep a daily journal” or so forth, because learning fluency takes a lot of practice. When you first start writing, it’s difficult because you have all this stuff in your head, and it’s hard to get it onto the page properly.
You might envision a tall, muscular, dark-haired man with a mustache, with a basket-hilted longsword on his hip, a cloak on his shoulders, and a top hat on his head, riding a black seventeen-hand Shire stallion with lovely brown eyes that match his light brown leather horse tack. This man is riding quickly, but not at a full gallop, and he’s in a forest of Scotch pine. The full moon is high in the sky, but the forest is still dark. He’s in a hurry to reach his true love, but he’s wary of the bandits that sometimes set upon unwary travelers in this forest.

You might, in your early years of writing, write that down as “James rode Augustus through the woods,” and then be completely puzzled why your friends and family aren’t blown away by what is–in your imagination–a very powerful scene. That’s because you haven’t learned the language of writing yet, so important details were lost in translation.

Fortunately for me, I have wasted decades of my life arguing meaningless minutia with people on online message forums. I started out on dial-up Bulletin Boards, and continue to some degree to this day. More fortunately for me, I have always had in my head an inkling that I wanted to be a writer someday, so as I was typing furiously back and forth with all those people online, I tried to use it as practice. I put forth some level of effort in everything I wrote, trying to make sure that things were well-spelled, well-punctuated, and whenever possible cleverly phrased. The net result of all this is that I am fairly fluent in the language of writing, to the point where I can usually write rather smoothly, with little to no need for serious editing or rewrites. Usually.

Another helpful factor is that I have always been a big reader, and it is always helpful when learning a new language–such as the language of writing–to immerse yourself in that language. The more you drink in, the easier it is to spit back out. You can subconsciously learn all sorts of rules and subtleties of the language that aren’t taught in school, and you find it easier to think in that language as well, minimizing the translation required to put your thoughts to paper.

All of which is to say that when it comes to blog posts, I know that I’m capable of the speed which will be required for me to catch up to my goal, and to complete my May Challenge for this year. The main obstacle will be finding enough material to write about. All the fluency in the world is of absolutely no avail when one runs out of things to say.

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