I have come to the conclusion that I am less of a Writer and more of a Word Florist. Other people seem to be able to think a thought, assign some words to it and then write them down. Apparently I have it all backwards. I think of words, I write them down, then I spend an absurd amount of time arranging them until they are in precisely the correct alignment, (often giving more heed to cadence than grammar) and if I’m lucky, they mean what I want them to at the end.
Luckily for me, I’ve come at writing via the historical regency romance route. I get to hide my need to arrange every sentence into a neat little bouquet of prose in amongst the overgrown regency verbiage and get away with it.
The thing is, Word Floristry is possibly the most inefficient method of writing conceivable. Every chapter, every scene, every sentence – heck, every email, text message and tweet – is arranged and re-arranged endlessly before I’m happy with the result. On the one hand, I adore the English Language’s ability to accommodate such robust manipulation – indeed, it almost demands it with its vast array of synonyms and complex syntactical rules daring one to break them. On the other, an obsession with having every word ‘just so’ does mean I am unlikely to ever join the ranks of authors kicking out several titles a year – or a blog post a day.
Nonetheless I am resigned to it. My main focus henceforth shall be to find a way to apply the same diligence and forethought to the words that come out of my mouth as I do to those I write. Then I might spend less time apologising for putting my foot in it, freeing up more time to faff around arranging words on the page.
That’s really interesting, the way you explain how you arrive at your work. I have a similar obsession with using the right word – I’m constantly trying to derive as much meaning as possible in as few words as possible – but I don’t think you should worry about the process and the time it takes. Getting the right result is the important bit 🙂
Thanks Ben! I’ve discovered writing will just take as long as it takes and I’ve given up fighting it. Rushing it only ruins the satisfaction of sculpting it all together. 🙂
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