Getting Ready

Now All I Need Is Black Coffee and Some Paper!

We’re just a few days out from the New Year.  Now that my Christmas preparations are taken care of, and we’re in the middle of that lovely liminal space between holidays, I’ve been readying myself to start back into my writing routine.

Over the years, I’ve been given some lovely mugs celebrating my work as a writer, and I’m marshalling these along with a new fountain pen to launch me into creative mode.

Although the majority of my writing is done on my computer, I often start a new piece longhand.  Maybe because I started writing fiction longhand, it’s as if there’s a hotline between my writing hand and my Muse that isn’t always there with the keyboard.

Even my choice of keyboard is made to provide the absolute least interruption between the Muse and getting the story into a form I can share with other people.  I use a very old keyboard on which I’ve worn away about half of the letters from frequent use.  (I really need to get some of the stickers that have been recommended to me.)  I even have a back-up of the same old model for when this one goes, because the point for me is not thinking about the act of writing.

In that way, I guess my root perception of myself is as a storyteller rather than an author or writer.  I’m just a storyteller who prefers to use writing as the way to tell my stories.  However, as my gamers can tell you, I can spin a pretty decent yarn with nothing but the spoken word.

One of my self-assigned challenges for this year may be to use a cool digital voice recorder Jim gave me for my birthday to make short audio files of some of my work.  However, on the whole, I don’t really like to listen to myself composing.  For that reason, I hope that—unlike my buddy David Weber—I don’t find myself needing to transition to voice-activated software.

That said, if the choice is that or not telling stories, you can bet I’d learn.

Now, although I’d promised myself a break (or maybe even because I took a break), I wrote a bit (longhand) the other day that got me through a rough patch in my current novel revision.  I think I’ll go insert it into the manuscript, then see if the Muse wants to talk some more.

8 Responses to “Getting Ready”

  1. Stuart Danker Says:

    I too like to start things off longhand, firstly because I enjoy using my fountain pens, and secondly because it helps quiet my mind and make it focus, I feel. Thanks for sharing!

  2. James Mendur Says:

    I have a mug with this image on it.
    It’s good, but I think I need a better one.
    Also, I need to finish assembling my desk because I’ve found I need a desk to write anything longer than a flash fic. I can’t write on a couch or in bed or in a car or at a coffeeshop. I need a desk … sometimes a table.

  3. King Ben's Grandma Says:

    I am eternally grateful for the storytellers/ writers who share their words! Books have been my dearest friends since I learned to read. I owe my sanity and life to one author whose work got me through a very very rough time.
    This is my wordy way of saying Thank You! Thank you for sharing your imagination and your words with us! May your Muse never go silent!
    Happy New Year to you, Jim, the kitties and all your dear ones!💌✨🎉

  4. Louis Robinson Says:

    I’m inclined to think that the distinction between oral and written language is overstated, much like that between “serious” & “popular” music. In fact, I would suggest that the distinctions tend to be quite similar: primarily, matters of style. Written language and serious music tend to go through bouts of obsession with formal correctness – whatever that might mean that decade – while their oral/popular counterparts stay more relaxed. Mostly, at least. Commercial considerations have had their effect on the formats of popular music in particular, and it and oral storytelling have had their own bouts of trying to make themselves more formal in a bid to be taken “seriously”, only to find that in the meantime the practitioners on the written/serious side have relaxed themselves. Often to the point where, as one example, Verdi kept the tenor role under lock and key for fear that every gondolier in Venice would be singing ‘La donna e mobile’ a week before the premiere of Rigoletto: opera had come to define popular music in Italy.

    It’s interesting that, if I understand correctly, concern with formal correctness appears in pre-literate cultures as well. I’ve seen discussions of skaldic practice that indicate that the forms of the sagas had long been fixed, and a skald would seek distinction in his presentation of the details. I’m not sure how it affects storytelling practice, but I know that many Pacific cultures have linguistic forms that may be used only by or in the presence of chiefs, and ISTR mention of similar practices in both Africa and the Americas.

    • janelindskold Says:

      Interesting. I had a roommate in college was was a magnificent oral storyteller. She used her voice as an instrument. When she tried writing those same stories, they went flat because she needed her voice for the full effect. Me? I can do both, but I lose myself better when written gets between my awareness of “me” and the story. And I guess I like losing the sense that “me” is an element.

  5. Harried Harry Says:

    I know I’m late but I have an excuse for returning. I’ve been trying to get the pecans picked up but the weather has been cold so my limbs don’t work as well. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

    I started out writing everything in longhand since it was much easier to then type it on my Remington and edit as I typed. Correcting things was more of a challenge but the correction tape really helped if I caught the mistake early enough.

    I think each of us has our own unique way of doing things when it comes to writing. One of my sisters was very good at making up stories when we were young and taking a trip. Since we rode in the back of the truck we could hear each other but my parents couldn’t hear what was said. Spooky stories were always very good to hear someone say.

    Now my imagination is not very strong since I learned not to use it so much since it could cause nightmares for me.

    Best wishes to all and enjoy your New Year. Remember to have some dark chocolate to bring you strength of mind and purpose. If you need it sweetened, add a bit of honey and a marshmallow or two.

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