How Do You Do?
Learning How To Write
It seems strange to be full of thoughts about learning how to write.
Writing is easy, isn’t it? Sit down, pick up the pen or fire up the technology, and write.
That’s what is happening now, right now with this article.
Easy. A thought in my head conveyed onto the paper. Writing, I’ve got this.
But there’s that sort of writing and, well, the serious business of ‘writing’. I wrote a piece for a writing challenge, one long flow … an idea, a ‘story’. As I got to the end I started to overthink what I was doing. I even looked up articles to find out what I was up to, trying to find other people’s words to describe a process that I could understand … or learn.
It turned out I have been ‘pantsing’ * it.
[Fair Warning: look up pantsing and you will come across a whole number of nefarious activities involving trouser pulling, debagging, and even unpleasant behaviour with small animals]
So, let’s return to the calm world of pantsing as it relates to writing.
Pantsing refers to sitting down and writing by the seat of your pants, letting it all pour out to see where your creativity takes you. The idea is that if you write forward, the story will appear. And besides, the theory goes, the more you know about what you’re writing beforehand, the less you’ll want to write it.
I enjoyed writing that way. It flowed. Easily. The plot emerged as each daily section was flung down on the paper. No pressure. I was writing #2badpagesaday and ‘bad pages’ are pretty straightforward.
That piece of writing is all wrapped up into a First Draft, which appears to be an actual thing. Keep your fingers off it, they say. Okay, so I’ll write something else. Ah, the ‘difficult second album’.
I thought I would try something different. There was a snippet I had written a while back, an opening paragraph. I picked it up and typed it onto the page. Then I sat and started handwriting ideas around it; planning, not pantsing. Thinking it through. What would work? Who is this person? What are they like? How would the story finish? Why would this stuff happen?
Crikey, writing like that is much harder than just letting it flow. MUCH trickier. This is probably what writers wrestle with all the time. Anyhow, I have to go now; there are some words to write. I have no idea what I am doing, but that doesn't mean it can’t be done.