September 24, 2015 in Dag

The best bits of writing are not writing

That seems like a really odd statement to make. The best bits of writing are not writing? What on earth do I mean by that? Have I finally gone totally, utterly, barking mad?

Let me try to explain.

Writing is hard work. At least the writing part of writing is. The sitting in front of a computer, trying to figure out what words to put onto the screen. Trying to make them vaguely make sense. Trying to make some sort of attempt at following the basic rules of spelling and grammar. And all the while, trying to make sure that all of these words correspond to the original vision of the story, and contribute to making it a compelling experience for readers.

The longer I sit in front of that screen, the more I feel my brain begin to seize up. The more I feel my eyes starting to pop out of my head and my mind slowly turning into mush. By the end of the writing session, I just want to go to bed and sleep for the next two days.

So why am I doing it? Why have I actively made this decision to write when it all seems to sound so painful?

Here’s the thing. Firstly, I didn’t say it wasn’t fun. Although it can be intense and tiring, it can also be immensely rewarding, especially in those moments when the words come together and you think to yourself, “This is actually rather good.”

But there’s a lot more to writing than the bit where you sit at the computer with an aching head. Often, the most significant part of the writing process happens well away from the computer, and often well in advance of that writing session.

It’s the times when I’m walking down the street or reading a newspaper or chatting with friends or (most commonly) when I’m lying in bed trying to get to sleep. Those are the times when the brain really starts to free up and the ideas start to flow. Maybe it’s a new idea for a brand new story. Or maybe it’s a way to resolve a plot point or satisfactorily progress a scene that I haven’t been able to work out after hours in front of the screen.

Wherever, or however, it is, I often find these moments are the best bits of writing. They’re the times when I really feel a buzz about the way my stories are developing. When being a writer really seems like fun.

Only problem is, once the idea is up in my head, I have to go back to the computer to try and find the words that will give the idea justice.

For an example of how the ideas and the words mesh together, you can download a free copy of my novella Doodling at

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