I Don’t Write My Best Writing

original photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1406545 by Caesantana http://www.sxc.hu/profile/CaesantanaI dictate it.

Many of the authors I work with are concerned about whether or not their typing, spelling and grammar skills will get them through a 70,000 word book. It just doesn’t matter. “Writing” doesn’t have to mean writing.

The surest way to get your book or blog post finished is to use the method that’s easiest for you. If you type a thousand words a minute like Best Beloved does, you should type — if you enjoy it. If you prefer scribbling longhand in a notebook, do it. The extra step of having your work transcribed, whether by you or someone else, will probably take less time than struggling to use tools and methods that feel unnatural to you. Even if that’s not the case, using tools and methods that make you struggle diminishes your art.

When Best Beloved was too ill to work with me, writing was excruciating. I’ve been a writer and a coder most of my life. Just because I type 50 wpm doesn’t mean I like it.

What I like is talking. I’m good at it. I have also developed a pace which allows Best Beloved to keep up with me transcribing my speech to text more accurately than any software ever could (it’s partly because she’s smarter than a computer program and partly because she can read my mind).

My best work has been, not written, as in typed by me, but dictated.

How do you do your best work?

6 thoughts on “I Don’t Write My Best Writing

  1. I am the best two finger typist in my mind. During my years as a Behavior Therapist, I dictated my reports, and my secretary, who by the way, typed over 100 per minute, would put my words on paper. I never learned to type. Mental block. I do play keyboards. I got away from dictating, and now, I type my own projects. Takes me a while, but I pretend that I am typing at an unbelievable speed. Good read. Blessings.

  2. Hi Joel. I use the PC…I keep trying out new-fangled, really cool chairs that Klaus buys for me, such that I refuse to say anything to him about the dang things…but either my back or butt muscles or shoulders, whatevvvver, are always just killing me by the end of the day. Not sure what to do.

    The reason I use the computer (unless of course I’m traveling with the yellow pad and pen) is because it’s not possible to write fast enough to get down what’s coming out. That is, when I do longhand…plus, and especially then, my writing gets Really Bad, so I go to transfer it and have zero idea what I was trying to say.

    AND, there are lines, cross-throughs, side notes, scribbles up and down the page, single/double/triple asterisks to see 2-3 pages ahead for further info, it’s plain stupid. Funny to look at, but close to useless.

    One last thing: The only good part about writing longhand is that I NEVER edit while doing so. On the computer, barely a sentence goes by without being checked out and possibly revised. I think this is a hazard left over from editing days; and definitely a downside.


  3. Though I touch type, I’ve never moved beyond simple chords on a piano. I need to spend a couple months on sight-reading and practice and get past this hump.

  4. Get a recorder, or use your phone. If I really want to capture exactly what I mean, nothing even comes close to hearing me say it. For my fiction, I’ll probably record my dictation and have Sue transcribe that, because I can’t dictate fiction to her directly.

  5. When I write articles for my job, I type in my computer directly… But when I write my stories, I write longhand. I guess it’s a way for me to make the difference between work and art!

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