Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hunting And Pecking

It always happens to me. I go to a great gathering of writers and fans, such as EerieCon in Niagara Falls, NY, and I leave re-inspired in many more ways and have found myself doing more actual writing (and less distracted other things) in the early morning hours before I head off to my day job.

A side-effect, I suppose, of spending a few days sitting on panels and talking about writing, talking about the creative process, talking about writing projects.

On one of the panels, where I sat with Kevin J. Anderson, Carl Frederick, Darrell Schweitzer and Sephera Giron, we talked quite a bit about the creative process and what each of us did to stimulate and keep the creative process in motion. This topic panel was divided into a "women's view" and "men's view" (Sephera was our moderator and "on loan" to the men for our panel) and thus we naturally talked over what might be the differences between the two approaches.

But something else we talked about was the actual process of writing, and some of the rituals we liked to employ when writing. I was quite fascinated when Kevin Anderson discussed how his ideal writing session involves going for a long hike in the woods with an audio recording device, purposely leaving his cell phone behind, then moving through the rockies while dictating the first draft of the story, dialogue and all.

I have dictated ideas and small snippets of scenes into an audio device to later be transposed into text. But the ability to do that cohesively amazes me. Kevin suggested that it was a learned skill, and that none of us were born knowing how to type -- that perhaps the first time we sat down at a keyboard (and yes, most of us on the panel were old enough that the first keyboard we experienced was an actual typewriter) we didn't really know how to type and used a single finger to hunt and peck, but that, after time, we developed the ability. He said the same could be true for writing verbally.

I love the fact that when he's on his lone hikes getting writing done, he's away from all the distractions that take a person away from actual process of writing. And though it has been a while since I've done anything more than quickly dictate a short scene idea or character development concept or plot idea, I think I'll try to practice Kevin's ritual.

After all, there's a plethora of great hiking trails in this area. By the time I navigate them all, I could have perhaps moved beyond the "hunt and peck" style of dictating a story that I currently employ and into a smooth flowing stream of prose.

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