On Writing With a Stutter

I just finished reading Wizard and Glass, which brings me to a very pathetic 7 books behind schedule for my “Read 100 Books in 2015” goal. Overambitious, perhaps, especially considering that I am not limiting page numbers on the books. I am trying to read a play and or a graphic novel once a week to increase my chances of making that goal, but it’s more of an idea than a practice right now.   (Plus I’m averaging 370 pages a week!  That’s good!)

I am also trying to put a review up on Goodreads (read them!) for every book that I read this year, which is what brings me here right now.

The other day I was reading an article about…writing articles.  Specifically, it was about an app that watches and records the way you write and then plays back what you wrote and how you wrote it.  It’s called Draftback. The playbacks are interesting to watch for about a minute of someone else’s work and, I would imagine, are excruciating when the writing is your own. The constant deleting and copy/pasting and subtle rewording and occasional typo (fun aside: if I was recording this you guys would have all just learned exactly how much trouble I have spelling “occasional” #perfectcomedictiming).  I have not installed Draftback and don’t plan on doing so, because I think it’s mostly a waste of time and I waste my time on enough things already.

HOWEVER.

One great value to be derived from it is the realization that sometimes you should just to fucking commit to what you’re writing.

Which brings us back to four paragraphs ago.

I was trying to write a review of Wizard and Glass and was having a tough time of it.  I would write a paragraph and then delete it.  I would add a sentence somewhere in the middle of a paragraph that I’d started and abandoned for another idea.  I would write a paragraph that was exactly the same as the last paragraph only written with slightly different words. And, throughout it all, I could not stop thinking about Draftback.  I could not stop imagining how embarrassing (another word I cannot spell) the tracking of my writing would look like.

When I watched a snippet of someone else using Draftback, all that I could think was how ridiculous most of the changes the author was making were.  The experience was very similar to watching someone adjust figurines on a desk or books on a shelf.  If your cat knocked the Superman figurine from his place of prominence in your Superhero shrine, yes, you should pick it up and put it back.  You can even spend a little time readjusting the scene if you think that’s in order.  But if you sit there for an hour constantly readjusting you are wasting your time and, at the end of the day, no one is going to notice the minuscule readjustments, least of all you.

If nothing else, Draftback makes a compelling case for this adage I am (probably not uniquely) making up right now:  “Write first. Edit second.”

Yes, there will be changes that you’ll want to make to your writing, but don’t prevent yourself from ever finishing (#hyperbole) your writing because you’re so busy editing it. Don’t write with a stutter because you can’t make it more than a paragraph without changing something in that paragraph.  Computers make editing and tweaking so easy, but there is something to be said for not tweaking everything the moment it occurs to you that you might want to make a change.

Anywho.  If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to try to write a review of Wizard and Glass in one continuous shot.  No stutter.  Old school.

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2 Responses to On Writing With a Stutter

  1. Travis says:

    Imagine the age of typewriters!

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