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Forgetting how to write

October 17, 2006

I’ve been working full-time now for almost two months, and there’s been considerable changes to my writing life. Namely, the fact that I’m not writing – not that I’ve done a large amount of writing before I got this job. People have no clue when they say, “If only I didn’t have a job, then I could finish my novel.” For me, unemployment presented itself as a barrier to prosperous writing just as much as working nine to five.

My whole life was devoid of stimulation. Sure, I had the time to write when I pleased, but I never went out to observe the world I was commenting on in my fiction. I didn’t have the resources or the opportunities. Now, working, my mind is flooded with all kinds of random images, things you don’t go looking for, but they find you. These ideas are everywhere now, but without the time to fire up the word processor in the right environment, I’m slowly falling out of habit of doing the actual writing bit.

When I was unemployed, my schedule was totally out of sync with the rest of my family. I would stay up until two or three in the morning, occasionally writing something. I find it hard to write when everyone else is working and moving around me. It’s distracting. I can write things like blog posts, but for fiction, you need to go to that extra level of concentration to immerse yourself into the story so that your readers will be immersed too. I need the solitude that I could only find when everyone else was asleep, since the only computer in our house is in one of the main rooms. The concern is that I’m going to fall out of practice and I’ll forget how to actually write, without forgetting how to come up with story ideas and think like a writer. That, my friends, may be the ultimate writer’s torture. I plan to buy a laptop soon, with the money I’m trying to save from my new job, but until then, I’m really going to struggle to get words down and avoid forgetting how to write.

4 Comments
  1. October 17, 2006 8:44 am

    Harsh reality, Benjamin. Been there with you. Too much time is as difficult as not enough time. Can you wake up early before work and hammer out an hour or so? Makes the work day more tolerable going in.

  2. October 17, 2006 12:50 pm

    It’s funny that you say that. One of my favorite places to write is in restraunts.. I love the back ground noise and conversation. Snipets here and there are great ideas when you stall out. As for not enough time, what about lunch breaks? Do you get enough time at luch to maybe jot down some thoughts?

  3. October 17, 2006 6:55 pm

    Yes, it’s definitely a catch-22 situation.

    I also have to have it completely quiet and still around me when I write. I’m easily distracted. In fact, I sometimes have to leave the house and lock myself in a study room at the library because just being HOME is a distraction.

    Have you ever considered buying a small tape recorder and carrying it with you? Perhaps, as wolfbaby suggested, you could click it on during lunch break and “talk through” some of your ideas? Maybe listening to it later will motivate you to write something down.

    And I know you said you were saving up for a laptop, by all means GET ONE, they are invaluable. But if you’re wanting something quick and easy (i.e. no waiting for it to boot up, needing an electrical outlet, etc.), you might consider an
    AlphaSmart
    . They are expensive, but truly, a writer’s DREAM. That’s what I plan on using for NaNoWriMo because I can take it anywhere and simply write without distractions (like Solitaire for example, hehe).

    Good luck, buddy!

  4. October 18, 2006 4:27 am

    Thanks for your input guys. Before work isn’t an option because I get up early enough as it is, and lunch is really too short as it is. Also, I’d could just imagine the weird looks my workmates would give me if I start talking my gory horror stories into a dictaphone.

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