Depending on one’s perspective, the “how” part of writing is either self-evident or an endless mystery. I offer a few initial thoughts on the topic of “how to write.”
First is tools.
- Nowadays, most writers use a computer when writing. It is practical, allows for easy edits, and produces digital output for saving, sharing, or submitting.
- Some writers, who long ago honed their craft using a typewriter, persist in doing so today.
- Still others write longhand, either in a special notebook or tablet or alternately on any accessible piece of paper. Some prefer to use a pen; others, a pencil.
Second is mode. That may sound funny, but here is what I mean:
- Some carefully construct a sentence in their mind, marinating it and mulling it over until it is perfect. Then they write it. It is done.
- Others write whatever comes to mind as quickly as possible; it is a “stream of consciousness,” a random free-flow of ideas and words. Editing and fine-tuning will happen later.
- These are extreme examples, but most writers gravitate towards one or the other. The point is to do what seems natural and works – not what someone else does or says.
Third is process. Here are some examples:
- Some sit in front of a blank computer screen (or sheet of paper) until they know what to write. If you’ve ever read (or wrote) a piece that starts out, “As I sit down to write…” you know what I mean.
- Others contemplate ideas and concepts as they go about their daily life. The topic gels in their mind and when they begin to write, they are good to go.
- Still others await inspiration. Once it hits, they begin writing immediately. Often they will intentionally engage in a mindless activity such as going for a walk or washing the dishes to spur inspiration.
(For me, my tool is a computer; my mode is to edit as I write; and my process is to mull over ideas first and then to write. This is my typical approach. However, at one time or another, I have used each item mentioned.)