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January 29, 2007

Comments

heather

agree. i recently read 'No Plot? No Problem!' which is about writing a book in 30 days, but with your editor also turned off for those 30 days. i'm waiting on the 30 day marathon (too many projects at the moment) until things are a bit quieter, but meantime it has inspired me to put the editor at bay as long as i can. it really helps.

Kimberly

I think it's important to turn off the actual editor too!

When I was in graduate school I had to do a lot of writing (both academic and creative/journal writing) and I would get frustrated when I couldn't get myself to focus. Then I took a class where we were talking about how technology mediates communication and it occurred to me that one of the reasons I had such a hard time focusing was the tool I was using--Microsoft Word.

Ultimately, MS Word is all about presentation. It forces consciousness of spelling, grammar, margins, spacing, length, etc. into the forefront of our minds. I don't know about you, but I find that *really* distracting (and I didn't even know it!). I had two solutions: 1) Write in Notepad, 2) Create an unformatted template in Word. That means small margins, innocuous font, turning off white space and for the love of all that's good and holy grammar and spell check.

The result was that my writing was more about what I said, and less about what it looked like. I wish I had thought of the trick in this post too though. I think closing our eyes while writing will help us get in touch with our inner voices. Great tip!

Alex Fayle

That's why I hand write almost everything first. The temptation to edit is much less when you have pen to paper.

The computer frees the editor, even if I wasn't looking at the screen. The pen and paper method also slows down thought, allowing it to flow in a steady manner that doesn't overwhelm.

Curt Rosengren

Excellent suggestions. Funny how we get bogged down by the technology that is there to make things easier, isn't it?

Re turning the mental editor off, when I write (at least if I'm trying to create a polished end result), I have to look at it as first creating a lump of clay with an initial dump of words and ideas, and then going back and sculpting it.

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