This month I’ve written or edited almost 60,000 words. I only know this because I use the rather helpful Grammarly to check that I haven’t missed some hideously glaring error. It also, handily, strips off all the different fonts and styling you end up with when you’ve been doing lots of cut and pasting (cutting and pasting, maybe).
Apparently, my grammar is more accurate than 79 per cent of other users and, with 3950 unique words, that’s a vocabulary greater than 99 of other users. Go me.
Actually, it’s pitiful how much I
like need this feedback. Pathetic.
What I started this post about is the flash of understanding I got about that just-about-to-write feeling. Work or play writing, it’s a slog. It doesn’t matter if it’s putting together a carefully crafted executive summary for the office, or pondering how to write a book proposal. It’s a bit like pulling your boots on and standing at the bottom of quite a steep hill. You know you can get there but that you’ll have to put in the work, you might sweat a bit, get thirsty, even pretend to look at the view to get your breath back and wiping off the midgies that have drowned in the perspiration. That’s what writing is like.
Logically, then, you must be able to train for it. The more mountains you climb – with sufficient rest and recovery – the faster and easier subsequent ascents are. Also, you and your muscles learn what they are capable of. This is why writing – regardless (more or less) of quality – is crucial. Regular, stretching and muscular writing.
After all, you wouldn’t expect an athlete to suddenly be possessed with the strength and skill to win the race without considerable effort and application beforehand. It’s weird that we think writing will work the same way.
The creative writing course has started to pick up pace with writing and reading both required – and me doing both at pace and hurtling towards the deadline.
I’ve learned that there’s a vast amount of technical stuff that I don’t know the names of. Many of my classmates are literature graduates or alumni of various other writing courses and they turn up with the tools for dissection and proper discussion that I lack.
My solution has been to order the text book that, hopefully, will bring enlightenment, though I’m loathed to actually open in for fear of realising the depth of my ignorance. Ho hum.
Come back later for the witty pay off. I think it’s in this heap of stuff on my desk.