Our last effusion, outpouring, gush, upchuck of “Lies” talked about the physical process of writing.
Here we go again.
I cannot count the number of times I have heard writers and writing instructors advise other writers that when writing it is important, imperative even, to write write write write write write write.
Do it quickly. Don’t slow down (hence, the absence of commas above). Don’t stop. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, punctuation, word choice, or anything else. Just get it on the page (or screen) as fast as you can. You can always fix it another time.
A popular way of putting it is, “vomit on the page and come back later to clean it up.”
That doesn’t work for me.
It could be because I have written advertising copy for so many years. When you are confined to a fraction of a page or a half-minute of air time, you don’t have a lot of words to work with. Every one has to work hard on its own and play well with others. So, you carefully consider and contemplate every word, often before you write it.
Writing poetry is much the same, which is where I went next. Then short stories and magazine articles. By the time I got to novels and history books it was too late. I was already trained to examine each word, mull over every phrase, and think about every sentence. If something isn’t right, I am not capable of moving on. (Which is not to say everything I write is right; anyone who’s read my stuff knows better.) I can try, but it nags and niggles at me like a burr under a saddle blanket and I have to make it as right as I can before I can move on.
It’s more like playing with your food than vomiting on the page, I suppose.
The point is, writing is something you do by yourself. You have to do it your way. If that means barfing verbs and nouns and adjectives, fine. But if ruminating over every jot and tittle works for you, that’s fine too.