Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Linear Writing

Many writers feel they have to write a story from beginning to end. When telling a story or a joke, we can't skip around or those listening will lose interest. The beauty of writing as opposed to telling is time; time to think, change direction, rewrite, and so forth. We can jump around as much as we'd like, work on this chapter for a while, that paragraph, the conclusion until we are finished and satisfied with what we've created. (Completely satisfied never seems to happen for me, but I have to stop revising at some point.)

Writing is sort of like putting together a puzzle. Perhaps we feel like working on the blue pieces that make up the sky, or the maze of branches that forms the trees. It is probably a good idea to complete the border (the general framework of the story) before filling in the middle, but even that isn't a hard and fast rule.

If we force ourselves to write linearly, we are setting ourselves up for a bad case of writer's block. Stressing over "what comes next" could make us give up on a project; whereas working on another part of the story could help us fill the gap we abandoned. At the very least it will give us a sense of accomplishment and a more positive attitude about what we're writing.

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