Hi all,I am looking to spend the next year thinking very deeply about what I do, and have done, for the past decade. I am a high school teacher and a busy dad. I go through phases where I write for a while and then stop. Sometimes I focus on a specific word count, other times I try to write for a specific amount of time. The last time I stuck to writing for a few weeks, I had a lot of my ramblings on a word doc. What do you do after you've accumulated a dozen or so pages of your thoughts? Do you go back and edit? I am writing supposedly to "think deeper" about what I do, but I often feel like I am thinking, but how deeply? Without some feedback/push back, I am not sure how deeply I am thinking.
You said it yourself, you are the kind of person who, without feedback, feel somewhat at sea.I don't believe that you'll find that here; regular feedback of value. And my (humble) suggestionwould be that you seek out an actual writing group. I've seen them all over theplace in my town; libraries, community centers, and bookstores come to mind, the same places that feature book clubs and reading groups will oftensponsor writer's groups as well. There ARE, of course, also online 'writers groups' to be found .. but the Motley Fool is extremely impoverished in this respect. In my 14 years of regular 'attendance' here I've only witnessed ONE little informal 'group' take off and actually continue to meet and interact daily for a spell --- and that was purely based in online trading .. not on writing. Believe me, again, The Fool is NOT going to provide you with what you're looking for along the lines you refer to.Best ..
I don't believe that you'll find that here; regular feedback of value.--------------While I am with notablelaggard on this, I will suggest that the operative word here is "regular". Oh, and "value".To wit: you will get feedback from time to time (like now). It's value is subjective, however.For the writing I do (novels), I always have three files open: the draft I just finished, the draft I am working on, and my file of "Thoughts". This last file is in outline view, with ideas pretty much confined to what the header says. FYI, the thoughts file for my current project is 120 pages, spanning two years. It is the wall upon which things are thrown, and is never edited. In fact, even if the "thoughts" file were itself the goal, I don't believe I would actually edited it. Instead, I would write it into its own project.To this end, the thoughts file is the sketch of the project. One can spend one's time editing the sketch, erase a line, add a line, and in fact spend decades working on the sketch, and never finish the project.I am a firm believer in a "word count" approach to writing for several reasons. First and foremost, it forces production. Writing is the physical act of putting words into relevant, coherent ideas. It has a purpose, however amorphous the purpose might be. A word count is a quantitative measure of progress toward that purpose. One can sit at the terminal for an hour and think about thoughts, and tell oneself that one has done some writing, but one is deluding oneself. At the beginning of each draft, I keep a running track of the date and my starting word count for that date. My goal for a particular session is 500 words. I don't sweat it if I miss by a few, so long as I'm happy with what I did do. My goal for a day is 1500, but that's like a bulls eye.Words in my thoughts file count toward this total. However, if I find that I'm spending too much time in this file, and not enough time pushing the rope of narrative plot, I slap myself across the face, tell myself to snap out of it, and get back to work.Much of this presumes that the writing is a means to an end. The publication of a novel, the submission of a report to a committee, a daily blog maybe. Something. Under the worse case scenario, it is better to have a horrible ending than a horror without end. Writing without a particular purpose, without an ending toward which is it going, tends to become soggy, random, and self-indulgent. Endlessly so. It is still writing of course, and still a fair amount of work. My point here is that writing takes energy, and there is usually more energy for it if the writer has some clarity of the purpose for writing.Hope this helps.
My point here is that writing takes energy, and there is usually more energy for it if the writer has some clarity of the purpose for writing.I so agree. I have set a goal of writing about a decade of my past, 1965-75. ancient history almost, but I find that because I have defined my parameters, I can produce the words. It will have to be sorted and assembled, but it is being written.
Thanks so much for the replies. Glad I made it back to this board to see it.I found a website last night that is connected to your point about daily writing and a daily word count- http://750words.com/ .I am a teacher so each summer I have a significant amount of time to read and reflect. This morning I woke up and wrote about 800 words.If I stick to this, I was wondering at what point I should go back and try to turn some of my ideas into more polished pieces that focus on particular themes, ideas. Maybe I can turn some of these thoughts into blog posts. My biggest goal is to become more reflective and a better teacher. And I am confident that writing can help me to do this.Joe
I have been logging in (http://750words.com/) and typing 750 words each morning. This is much easier now that I have some time off (a teacher). Much of my writing pertains to teaching and current events (social studies/govt teacher). I am all over the place in my writing. I am just typing, somewhat furiously, trying to get to 750, which takes me anywhere from 15-25 mins. I was thinking I might try to focus myself a bit and post a blog on a specific topic once a week. Kind of like my own weekly column (not sure how long). This way I can work my way through the writing process, from my first stream of consciousness ramblings to a more thoughtful, polished post. I not only want to write regularly, I want to become a better writer/thinker. A morning "brain purge" of 750+ words is a first step, and one that I want to continue with, but I am constantly fighting the urge to slow down and focus on a single topic/idea. I guess for now I need to just work on consistently getting up each morning and writing. My current streak is 4 days...
I not only want to write regularly, I want to become a better writer/thinker. A morning "brain purge" of 750+ words is a first step, ...My current streak is 4 days... My suggestion:Do the brain purge method for a few more days ....maybe up to about 2 weeks worth. Then take the next couple of days and use those 750 words rewriting something you wrote the first couple of weeks. Do this cycle a few times, then start the rewriting what you rewrote. If something grabs you earlier, start the rewrite and re-rewrite cycle on that even sooner. Have fun.
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