A Sea Of Words

I hadn’t expected to blog a massive amount this week but I’m wide awake at 05:00 am so thought I would update you all on my first day of serious writing. I had been putting this day off for some time for a multitude of reasons; chief amongst these was a fear that I wouldn’t be able to do it. That I would open the laptop and stare at a blank screen all day devoid of inspiration and unable to transfer my tangled thoughts into flowing prose.

Well I guess I slew that dragon yesterday. The words did flow, to the extent that at end of play yesterday evening I had passed the 5000 word mark. They could well be the worst 5000 words ever written but here’s the thing – they are written. My worry over writers block reminded me of my concerns about hitting the wall during my first marathon; in each case it never happened because I didn’t allow it to happen. Sometimes we forget the amount of control we have over our own destinies.

The other thing I learnt yesterday was the amount of time people talk and think about writing. When I first got the idea for the book I talked for months about writing it to anyone unfortunate enough to be within hearing range of me. I thought about writing almost as much as I thought up excuses not to write. I read books about writing which often seemed to advocate doing everything bar actually writing. They spoke of endless months of plot structuring and character development in order to create design documents that would eventually be crafted into the finished article.

I realised yesterday that whilst this approach might work for a lot of people it doesn’t work for me. I need to write. I need to get the words out of me that have been festering inside all these years. I need to be purged of them. Sometimes when you are ill and feeling nauseous the only way to get rid of that awful sensation is to actually be physically sick. I feel the same when it comes to my writing. I want my words to see the light as opposed to festering inside. For if they stagnate in the darkness for too long they become something else. Beauty will rot if unattended for any length of time.

I realised that I am a back to front and upside down writer. My first draft will be raw, manic and spontaneous. It is only at the end of the process that I will sit down and begin to smooth out the many rough edges. I will edit and redraft until the cows come home. And when the cows have come home and I have checked that they are fed and watered I will edit and redraft some more; until it is complete, whatever it is. Which leads me to the final (I promise) point I want to make in this post. What you sit down intending to write and what you actually end up writing are often very distant cousins.

Yesterday morning I sat down at my desk with every intention of birthing an introductory chapter which has been germinating in my grey matter for some time. I could almost recite it to you verbatim. All I had to do was transfer that mental screenplay onto a Word document and hit save. A gentle start to my writing career before the real work started in earnest. Did it work out that way? No of course it didn’t. Instead my main character demanded that I delve into his past and explore his past. Over the next few hours he taught me much about himself that I had not previously known. He explained to me how he had turned out the way he had. He educated me.

I had heard other writers talk about their characters writing the book for them once they started and maybe that will be the case with me. The 5000 words I wrote yesterday bore little semblance to the 5000 words I thought I was going to write. My main character asked me to let go of the steering wheel and trust him. That was kind of a liberating experience and took a lot of pressure of me. It was as if he sensed my trepidation and decided to show me the ropes on my first day at a new school. I hope all my characters are as kind to me as he was. Although I have my doubts as some of them are bad, bad people.

Did I say that was my last point. Sorry, I lied. My last observation is that no matter how wrapped up in your literary muse you become don’t lose an awareness and appreciation of your present surroundings. It is our here and now that fuels our pens and allows our creative juices to flow. Yesterday was a great day for the Black Family. Hannah got her new motorised wheelchair which Fionnuala wrote about in the last blog; and Adam and Rebecca both had encouraging days on their respective sports fields. I have been blessed with an ability to write but it is they who have turned that ability into a reality.

They are my lighthouse. I must never lose sight of them no matter how adrift I become on this sea of words in the months ahead.

How do you write?

What writing projects are you working at present?

46 thoughts on “A Sea Of Words

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  1. I definitely know what you mean about the character writing itself, that’s a fun part of the process. I’m currently working on editing my first fiction novel so I’m going through all of those structural and developmental things, which is not always very fun. What I’ve taken from this experience is that I want to plan more on the outset so that I can save myself some headaches in the editing process… theoretically.

    But, as you said, it just matters that you’re writing! 5,000 words is amazing and a ton of hard work – good job!

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  2. It is frightening to me just how similar our writing processes are! It’s one of the reasons my blog posts are so filled with spelling errors, grammar mixups, and typos ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a story growing inside of me but I’d never thought of it the way you pointed out -something beautiful dying because it isn’t tended- it’s a story that I need to get out but I’m almost as terrified of that as I am of living with the ghosts of unwritten characters for all the years to come!

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  3. I can so relate to this. I have been saying I want to write a book for a few weeks now. I started the introductory chapter but like you said, the whole thing went another direction. Havenโ€™t picked it up again for weeks. Got to go back. No more excuses. And 5,000 words is amazing! Go you!!!๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ

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  4. Another interesting piece.I use writing as a way to cope. I have always put my words onto paper. Like any writer, I dream of the day I am actually published and I have been lucky enough to have a couple of poems published years ago. My major project (which I have been working on since I was about 14) is about females throughout history but those that did not stay within the acceptable norms… I could most likely send it off but I worry how I would react if it received a negative review as I have spent so much time.and love putting it together. But it does help me keep my sanity…sorta!

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  5. My blog is very much of the cuff. I try sometimes to make notes throughout the week leading up to the post but this is not possible all of the time, thus the off the cuff nature. However i do find that planning is not always best for me, so many new ideas enter my head as i write.

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  6. I rarely talk about writing. Perhaps, because I don’t feel like a writer.

    Back when I wrote horror, I nearly completed a novel. I felt that I was cheating. I was merely tapping into the darkness inside me and letting it flow. I became darker and more scary inside and the writing followed suit.

    I had to let that go and will never finish that book. I feel like, stupid as it may sound, that if I pen the end, I will end myself as well.

    Now, I grasp random thoughts rattling around in my head and attempt to put them on paper (aka digital media) in some sort of organized manner.

    Maybe writing is merely a way for me to take the crazy out of my head and make some sense of it. Maybe it is a path to sanity.

    Your writing is the kind I can appreciate, humble thoughts from someone trying to do better, someone with mistakes and every right to sit back and quietly be ashamed but denying that right to be a better man. I identify with that.

    I’ll be praying for your book and look forward to reading it someday.

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  7. 5,000 words! Awesome! I sat down yesterday and instead of typing out my thoughts I wrote it longhand. Seems I work better that way! Now I can type it up today! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Good luck as you make this journey! Can’t wait to read your book!

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  8. After almost three years of writing, I can assure you the characters you end up will very rarely be like the characters you originally had in your head- but, that’s okay! Still, 5,000 words is really good! Good luck with your book.

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  9. Working on my second book. Itโ€™s about taking your next steps toward Jesus. Iโ€™m on the second edit and itโ€™s about 50,000 words. The writing part is sooooo much easier than the editing process, but the editing is what makes it great.

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      1. My first one was a niche book on youth ministry. Itโ€™s called built to last youth ministry. You can find it on amazon. I was a little excited about that one. Iโ€™m exponentially more excited about this next one.

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  10. Great progress! I often free-write (even my blog posts), just spew out the words, and then go back and edit. It’s hard not to edit as you write, but it seems that you’ve overcome that. Good for you!

    I’m currently working on a short story that I began several years ago and have worked with on and off since. I’ve been working on it this past year, and have revised and revised and revised and am finally close to the home stretch, which means I’ll have a publishable product. That’s what my writing coach says, anyway! She even has suggestions of literary journals for me to submit my story to once the story is polished.

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  11. Same! I’ve tried structure, but it’s easiest to just start writing, it’s like the story tells itself. J.K. Rowling just started writing and look where she’s at, she said she knew the end of her story even as she began. I wrote a story when I was a teen that went over a hundred pages, I didn’t know how to type back then so I filled up an entire notebook, it was a disaster lol but it’s still a good story, beneath all the mishaps. Id tell it way differently now, as we grow our stories grow and our experiences shape how we write. But the core of what we wanted to say remains, there was something we really wanted the world to know in that moment in life and having picked up my pen and wrote it, I feel good, and accomplished even though it wasn’t publish worthy. Just be content in writing and the journey. And your story will always have meaning and reveal something about yourself. It’s legacy will live on.

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  12. Hi!

    I can’t agree more to your yearning for words when invoking one of the Nine Muses for inspiration. But I think you are already a good writer based upon reading your writing posted on your blog. Just let your train of thought flow first. Also, many thanks for liking my first attempted short story. I wish I would live with one of the Nine Muses for the Art of Writing ๐Ÿ™‚

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  13. Usually an idea will come to me earlier in the day and i will mentally write the main points in my head then when it is time to write i do research on google if necessary to fact check or find more information to support my points

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  14. Thank you for posting about this. I have been talking about writing a book for a year now but have not sat down and started. This is encouraging, I think I will return to that idea and begin with trying to write my book once again. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  15. Completely agree. I CAN’T do the tedious outline, and piece by piece summaries of each chapter. I have some writer friends who do this, but I can’t.

    I did in April attempt an overall summary of book one, which I am writing book one, and I know I am going to drift away and expand more than what I first anticipated. I do have some notebooks to write down ideas for further books/backstory of series, and I have a huge dry erase white board with markers that I write down ideas I get that will connect later. But I have to write. The first time I wrote my test run scene (first piece ever written for the series, and getting to know the characters) I was so scared. I really didn’t think I do it either, and my last novel I felt the same fear, and this book at the beginning I felt the same, and when I took a few months as a break, I also felt fear of coming back to it. But it is incredible to me how things have been connecting.

    5k in one day, that is awesome! I’m not that kind of writer, but I’ve read about writers who are able to whip out their story in about three months, and then take about another three months of editing. You are on a great start.

    Ronald Dahl, children’s writer of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, said he would work through the wall of writer’s block and then knowing what he would write next is when he took a break. That way when he started again he knew exactly where to start and would not have to stare at the screen. I’ve used this tip and it is very helpful.

    Keep pacing yourself through the easy to come scenes and trudge on through the hard ones!

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  16. I’m finally giving in to my writing as well and it’s scary but so worth it! I’ve gotten 3 likes on one blog and I was jumping for joy!!!! Lol!! So I continue…..and I will. Our Story for His Glory has been a dream of mine for years and I’m seeing it slowly come to life. Sea of words was awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I can’ relate to feeling the NEED to write. I am in that mode right now too and learning to trust the process. It’s crazy how much is flowing and how many ideas I have that I still want to flesh out. It’s a wonderful problem to have

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  18. So far I keep my blogs pretty short so I’ve just been writing them as I think on WordPress. Usually for my other writings I use electronic notes that I later transfer and edit to my liking before print. I had a scary moment after writing my longest and most recent post and accidentally clicking out without saving so maybe it’s not a good idea to wing it without a backup of any form. WordPress saved the day luckily! As for thought process I haven’t had writer’s block yet so I wouldn’t know how to deal with it at the moment.

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