Writer’s Log: 2007 The Spiral

[REF: my comment on Zarah’s blog]

I’m of a mind that, like many endeavors, the process of learning to write is a spiral.
LearnApplyReview
Learn -> apply -> review …

Hopefully, at each loop, one expands the spiral outward with the assembled knowledge and skill from the inner circles.

For writing, the complexity of the inner circles is limited: use proper grammar and spelling, use active voice, reduce the use of adverbs and dialog tags.

The further one gets from the center, the more nuanced the rules become — more like guidelines. Although the lessons become less specific, they become more challenging. One of those is finding one’s own voice.

What I find compelling about this visualization is that a spiral never ends: around and around we go, ever outward.

Lately, I’ve hardly written a thing: I’m in a wide curve, rounding from Review through Learn, approximately two-thousand hours from the center. (2000 on my way to 10k.)

This lull, I tell myself, is me digesting some of the more nuanced guidelines — like that of finding my own voice. That, as well as focus on the refinement of the writing itself. Story, not so much. Plot? Nope. Just the writing. The sound, the flow, the cadence.

Here’s some random exercises I’ve used to inch my way around the pivot-point:


7 responses to “Writer’s Log: 2007 The Spiral

  • E.D. Martin

    I like the spiral idea. I’m currently alternating between learn and apply, although my focus write now is on structure and not voice and language: theme, worldbuilding, character development, etc. Once I hone those, I intend to focus on language.

    It’s definitely an ongoing process though, if you want to improve.

    Liked by 1 person

  • George F.

    A timely topic for me, thanks. After reading Sol Stein’s on writing, I realized I’m a “top of the head” writer with no voice. But now that I finally have a clear definition of voice, I can work on that. As well as work on my dialogue, plot, and above all, conflict. All drama is conflict. I’m confident I can finish my “story,”–hell, even PH likes the “concept”– but afterwards, I’ll need to swing back and rewrite the entire story to incorporate those elements I just mentioned. Which is why editing my stuff now is totally premature. And to think–writers used to accomplish all this editing and writing just using a typewriter–without the ability to cut, paste, insert, delete and move stuff instantly. Ah. Greater. more tenacious minds than mine. BYW, how’s that job going? Draining you or inspiring you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anony Mole

      The fact that all of this is a “process” is one concept that keeps getting kicked into the corner. “Oh, hey! You there, dirty, dingy thing, you’re supposed to be keeping me in line. On the straight and narrow.”
      I suppose the only thing I’d add to your effort is this — finish the damn thing. Edit it. Self publish it. And move on.
      And consider Moby Dick. What a heroic effort that must have taken. The dude must have been partially insane to dedicate so much of his life to completing that story.
      Job is better. Still sucking me dry. But getting easier per: the new shit I have to learn. Hell, I’m almost 60 — WTF do they expect?
      Thanks for asking.

      Liked by 2 people

  • Phil Huston

    Haven’t written much since July? June? Edited, composed a couple of “I need this” bits which were probably I don’t need that but they were personal prompts. HIt the woodshed hard staring about two weeks ago. Like everything it takes a while to get your swing back, see the crap before ot hits, and forgive yourself for the quality of draft mode. As long as you remember how it’s supposed to go and know the difference, how the mind tells a story and how it really needs to go after it’s jumped out of your head. I sent a collaborator a thought and had to stress how it was thought, a brain fart, and not a “bit.” Yet. Like the Dusk challenge. I’m stuck at 80% and need to get it off the side of the raod. Yep. the never ending process.

    Liked by 1 person

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