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  • Word Vomit

    The biggest obstacle my writing has faced in recent years (or, if I'm being honest with myself, ever) is my tendency to want the words that come out of me to be perfect the first time. I'm generally a fairly smart and creative person, but this tendency of mine is NOT conducive to actually getting large amounts or writing done. The short stories, poems, and blog posts I've written have just enabled this shortcoming.

    In the past year, the main advice that has stuck in my brain from talking to other writers and listening to panels, classes, and podcasts is that you just need to write SOMETHING down. It doesn't have to be perfectly written or extensively researched (a major obstacle for me as well, considering the type of writing I do), because you can go back and fix it later. My inner perfectionist has had a very difficult time trying to deal with this. But over the past week (thanks, LTUE!), I have been inundated with this particular advice again and again. Likely it just stuck out because I knew that it was my main obstacle to having something publishable, but it has now become my mantra.

    Every time I sit down to write, I will catch myself thinking "is this the best description I can come up with?", or "oh, that idea is great for 7 chapters from now. I should go work on that!", but the repetition of my new mantra "JUST WRITE SOMETHING DOWN" has helped immensely. I'm getting more done than I have in months.

     Inevitably, I will continue having awesome brainstorms, or picking up on questions that need to be researched during my writing sessions. That isn't going to change. It's how I've treated those questions and ideas. I'll be writing about sick villagers, and I will suddenly have the impulse to research waterborne diseases extensively. I've indulged that in the past, and fallen down a Google-induced rabbit hole far too often. Now I have just added a "list of things to research", and plopped the question "what kind of water-based diseases could have ravaged their village?" and MOVE ON. Or I will think, "what if I wrote this in third person omniscent?", or "oooh, this character should be a Templar in his next life!". I now have a list entitled "list of things to consider at a later time (e.g. when you're finished with your first draft!)". It seems to be effective so far. I avoid writing on those lists for as long as possible, since I don't want to stop the torrent of word vomit, if I can help it (oh, the imagery!).

     Distractions are also a major pitfall for me. I will come home from my full-time job, eat some dinner, and watch an episode of Modern Family, or Face Off, or Brooklyn Nine Nine. By the time I'm done with an episode, I am relaxed and want to catch up on all the shows I like. I've been preventing this lately by either turning off my tablet immediately once I am done with an episode, OR, not watching TV at all, and instead listening to an episode of the podcast Writing Excuses. It keeps me in the right frame of mind, and I can be productive, even after a long day. I've also been listening to episodes of Writing Excuses on my way to and from work. It keeps my creative energy going, even when work would normally have beaten it out of me, and I am ridiculously grateful for it.

    Basically, I just wanted to talk about the fact that I'm getting over such a stumbling block and blossoming into a better writer. I keep having "Look, ma, I'm coping!" moments. I am sure I'll get over how proud I am of myself soon, and this will become the norm for me, but for now, being able to word vomit onto the page is ridiculously satisfying, and I feel so much more productive!

    [photo credit:
    [photo credit: http://kamicomics.com/comic/word-vomit/]
    [photo credit:


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