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Becoming A Better Writer

One of the (many) frustrations that comes with your standard nine-to-five job (read: a writer in a non-writer nine-to-five job) is the lack of opportunity to create upon feeling inspired.  I’m often struck with a thought, motivation, inspiration of any kind, and because I’m at work, I can’t just fire up my word processor and bang away at my keys.

I’ll admit this is an interesting obstacle for me, as a lot of the time I’ve spent as a writer has been as a freelancer, free of a nine-to-five.  It’s forced me to deeply consider the way I organize my thoughts, and in doing so, I’ve devised a plan to become a better writer.

When I first began writing, I didn’t bother much with notes.  Sure, I’d jot some stuff down in my word processor, write sporadically, and fill in the blanks as I went.  But as my writing rarely (never) included long-form exposition, the need for notes was non-existent.

I still haven’t delved into the art of long-form writing, but the frequent (and sometimes several-hour) delay between the inspiration and actually being able to sit down and write leaves too large of a chasm into which good ideas can disappear.  Which is why I’ve begun carrying a notebook to work with me.  Unfortunately, note taking seems to be an art form of its own.  Ideas will often materialize in the form of an expression, or a specific way of wording an idea (sometimes more complex than a simple phrase).  Because of this, my plan for becoming a better writer is a two stepped approach that will (ideally) not only improve my writing skills, but also my note taking skills.

Phase one, as it were, is, naturally, to learn how to take better notes.  More specifically, to determine what I, as a writer, need to make note of to ensure that I am able to recall the same ideas as when I first was struck by the hand of creative impulse.

Phase two essentially aims to further hone that skill, with the goal of reducing the volume of notes I need to take.  The idea is to learn about myself and the way my brain shifts between mindsets.  What I’ll be looking for here is a way to write fewer notes while more efficiently putting myself in the same mindset I was in when I was inspired, rather than cueing specific ideas.

I realize it’s kind of an amorphous plan at this point, but how do you quantify something like this?  At the end of the day, I’ll be happy if I am able to effectively recreate an idea, preserving detail and mood, without having to transcribe the entire moment of impulse.



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