Sunday, February 24, 2013

Typecast: On not overthinking it

In the time between writing the first page of this post and the second, I came across this Erika in a thrift store and thought I would share this (rather blurry) picture.

26 comments:

  1. Good for you, glad to hear you're getting your mojo back.

    I completely agree about not overthinking. As the old Nike slogan says- "Just do it!" What helps me is using blogger's "draft" function as my notebook. I throw in very rough ideas (topics, words, images), save them, and then pick out what seems to resonate in the moment, and type from there.

    Keep writing, Adwoa!

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    1. Thanks, Ton! You are right about blogger's "draft" function - I did use it for a while for posts that I would later type up, but it is a smart idea (and much faster too) to throw in a few snippets for later commentary/ review. I'll give that a try!

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  2. Thank you for this post. I very much enjoyed reading it. As to writing, I agree with Ton that sit down and just do it is often the best way - thoughts come while writing. So first the resolution to sit down. Once with the pen or on the typewriter, most of the time thoughts and the right words follow. Other times, it just doesn't happen so easily. I consider this natural as well.

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    1. "The resolution to sit down" is often the hardest part; I am so easily distracted! But I feel much better after having written, so I need to keep reminding myself to sit down and allow myself to write (or not, as you say, some days it doesn't come so easily).

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    2. I typed a letter today - and received a very nice handwritten one ;)

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  3. Publishing (which these days is as easy as a click) can certainly create self-consciousness, and for good reasons -- the world can look over your shoulder. So I'm glad to hear that you have been writing private correspondence.

    I try to maintain a journal that nobody else reads. Probably it averages 100 smallish, handwritten pages a year. The main thing I need to keep it going is quiet and free time -- free from the impositions of others and the impositions I create for myself.

    As for your readers here, we will certainly keep appreciating anything you care to share about our innocuous but wonderful pursuits.

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    1. Thanks, Richard. When I re-read my private correspondence I find there is little I would actively censor there if I was to typecast it, but I think letters are nice because you can recount rather ordinary events - to just one person - without wondering whether they are too mundane to be blogged about. So it helps do away with a bit of self-consciousness.

      I have tried to keep a journal in the past with varying levels of success... why? That would make a good topic for a typecast to come soon!

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  4. Good to have you back again. Nice post.
    I need to do more on line as Ton does. I tend to make notes, notes and more notes. Then I set the notebook(s) aside since I do not have time to use the notes to writer about what intended to write.

    Like Richard stated regarding digital. I like to keep most of my writing off line. I do keep journals by subject and write entries into them as ideas and time to writer coincide. I also keep a personal journal. I do not write nearly as much in Florida as I did when I lived in Virginia. I need quite and free time alone.

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    1. "Quiet and free time alone" - I like that! I am dreaming longingly (now that we have sub-zero celsius temperatures) of balmy summer days and promising to myself this will be the year I take a notebook and pen to the park on Sunday afternoons. Till then, I will make notes on topics to write about, as you suggest.

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  5. Great post, Adwoa. What works for me in terms of staying in that writing frame of mind is being observant throughout the week of anything that piques my interest that might work as the start of some essay. For me, those starting seeds can be from a wide variety of subjects and sources, and I fertilize these with a steeled determination to post onto my blog something meaningful - for me, at least - every week.

    I've also started recently recently a typed journal that's not intended for publication, just writing for myself, but from which I can also draw ideas for public blog articles.

    Ton, I have not used Blogger's draft feature, that sounds like something very useful.

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    1. Thanks, Joe! I like your blog and your writing style, and I did not realize you had such an extensive archive. I will be mining it for ideas and starting seeds!

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  6. Nice post - something I've felt myself. What helped me recently was editing my NaNovel. After the surprise that I don't hate it comes a little enthusiasm for writing more.

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    1. I know the feeling - I have writing from years ago that I have never re-read. One of these days, I shall screw up the courage to take a peek.

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  7. I said this to a friend the other day, when he complained that working on his online presence (blog, deviant art account, etc) was starting to become a draining and un-inspiring experience: the thing with these blogs is to make yourself happy about writing them. The moment keeping the blog running becomes a chore, that moment it starts to become more and more difficult to update and find the will, excuse, time, or motivation to write.

    I agree with the crowd here; perhaps the easiest way to stay in writing mode is simply letting ideas flow as you type. And I would add something, if you are as obsessive as I am: don't be too hard on yourself, and don't read what you wrote immediately after finishing a sentence or two, but until you've finished drafting the main idea. This method of free-flowing writing is anything but tidy; you'll have to edit, change words, make ideas clearer... but that can be done AFTER you put the ideas on black and white.

    To me, writing is easy... when I don't have to do it as a chore. I usually write on whatever topic interests me at the moment, and given that such interests change constantly from cars to typewriters to computers to books to arhcitecture to furniture and back to typewriters, I usually have a few subjects to choose from.

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    1. I think the sticking point is feeling sometimes that I have backed myself into a corner, i.e. blogging about typewriters when I am at the point where I really should not be acquiring any more of them! But, my kind readers seem willing to look over anything I post no matter how tangentially it is related to the hobby, so I shall keep at it and perhaps focus more on the writing and less on the typing, if that makes sense.

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  8. The vast majority of the time, I just write what is on my mind and don't think much else about it. Granted, I am a fairly private person and unless I have invested a lot of time into a friendship, most of what I am going to say (or write) is pretty surface or observational.

    My online persona is a pretty watered-down version of me. I can't think of anything I have written that could be "used against me" from a personal (family and friends) or work perspective. Even my Facebook updates are innocuous. I save a lot of "me" for personal correspondence, whether it is a typewritten letter, e-mail or private/direct messages.

    When I have been away from writing for a while, I don't think I do anything special to get back in the swing of things. I just start writing and don't apologize or try to make any excuses. Frankly, I somewhat pretend that I haven't even been away!

    In any event, I look forward to your letter, no matter how long or short a time it has been. You'll always have this friend to write to!

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    1. Thank you, Deek! You are such a kind and patient friend, and I felt really glad when I sent off your letter this weekend. I always look forward to our correspondence.

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  9. My wife (Aye) and I both think you are a gifted writer, Adwoa. Would love to see you published in book form. Keep writing!

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  10. Adwoa, I've always enjoyed your writing very much, as well as your photographs -- so it's great to hear that you're writing more lately. You have a real talent for it.

    Things tend to go in cycles, in most things with me as well as with others, it seems. That's part of what makes life interesting: the unpredictability of it all, the ebb and flow of ideas and creativity.

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  11. I find that setting aside time becomes a problem right around now, and sometimes it helps just to be alone and to not have anyone in the room. A new typewriter helps too XDD

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  12. 2 birds, one stone. Hi Adwoa! You dropped off my blogroll for some reason so I haven't been round much - sorry. Back to those two birds. I was getting a tad mute so just decided to write about my (let's face it, almost) daily bottle of beer. It is paying off, too. I'm remembering what the beer's like for a kick off. As one who doesn't premeditate a typecast a great deal (you can tell) I have found it a great way of lunging straight into an A4 sheet of paper. Hope it is warmer in Geneva than it is in England right now. Brrr. Roll on Spring.

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  13. Adowa,
    A great question!
    For me, William Forester's advice in "Finding Forrester" always works:
    " Sometimes when you start with someone else's thoughts it can help you figure out your own"

    Mike Finn

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    1. Great advice, thank you! I have been thinking about this and the lesson is that to write better, I should read more. So I have been doing quite a bit of reading...

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  14. Adowa and Mike:

    How about Hemingway and his advise on this topic. He writes in Moveable Feast that when he had difficulties writing he said to himself: "'Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.' So finally I [Hemingway] would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say."

    I personally think it is also important to have a habit or discipline to write. You get up every morning and it is a ritual like washing, breakfasting and cleaning your teeth and then writing. You may reverse this order if it suits you better. :-)

    Maciej

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