Charlotte Rains Dixon  

Writing All The Time

I write all the time.  I mean, I really, really do.

I just wrote a single-spaced 50 page report in 4 days.  Its the second single-spaced 50 page report I’ve done in that time frame, and let me tell you it is a haul to get it done.  But I did it–and some extremely perverse part of me really enjoyed it.  Oh, and I got up every morning and worked on my novel every day except the last one when my computer decided it didn’t want to open files and I still had some unGodly number of pages left to write and I was panicking.

My halo is glowing, as my best friend’s mother, Claudine, would say.

I’ve been doing this copywriting for a couple months now, and I have spewed out an amazing number of words.  It makes me realize how much more we are capable of than we think.  When I wrote the first draft of my novel, Emma Jean’s Bad Behavior (coming soon to a bookstore near you, please God and goddess and whoever else may be in charge)I wrote it fast, 2,000 words a day.  And it came out with more of a unique voice than anything I’ve ever written.

So what’s the secret to writing fast and still maintaining quality work?  The secret is writing fast and not worrying about quality work–at least during the first draft.  The secret is to just do it.

Why that is so hard, I do not know.

Its really hard to turn the critic off and just type.  But that’s what you have to do to produce writing in volume.   In most cases, after you are done with the just typing, you’ll go back.  And go back again.  And yet again, to refine and rewrite and revise. 

But, the point is, if you allow yourself to write fast and get a draft on paper, you’ll have something to rewrite.  I think of it as raw treasure.  And if you don’t allow yourself to write fast and get it out, it will remain locked away deep inside you.  Nothing to be mined.

I think the key word in all of this is "allow."  We need to allow ourselves to let the words out.  To risk putting who we are on paper for all the world to see.  To believe that what we have to say is worthwhile.  To quit worrying about the "good opinions of others," as Abraham Maslow says. 

It is toxic as a writer to worry that people will think we are good–either good writers or good human beings.  One of my students wrote that she was worried about an essay she was writing because she was afraid her husband may not end up looking very good in it.   I told her she could always change his name in the finished piece,  but she could not worry about his good opinion.  Anyway, he should have thought about his behavior at the time it was making him look bad.

And by the way, anyone married to or in anyway related to a writer should just always be on their best behavior, because, well, you never know when we might choose to write about you.

Just sayin’.

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