Breaking the Silence

Thursday, February 09, 2017
I recently learned something about myself: when my house is filled with moving boxes, I ignore my desire to write and give in to a deeper, more animalistic urge to nest. As a result, my laptop sat, unattended, for more than ten days.

My fervent unpacking didn’t stop writing ideas from popping into my head, however, and I realized I needed some way to satisfy both cravings at the same time. I tried jotting down random thoughts on sticky notes. I tried writing down ideas in my journal. But each time, the boxes won out, and many of my great ideas were packed away (pardon my pun).

Then, I came up with a solution: I could record my thoughts and ideas while I unpacked. At first the notion seemed strange – almost anti-writing. The more I thought about it, however, the more it seemed like a good idea. We listen to books on tape, which is considered reading. So why not dictate a chapter out-loud and call it writing?

When it comes to dictation, past memories cast a dark cloud on the method. I recall my first job as a paralegal, dutifully transcribing the letters and memos of my micro-managing boss, developing a true distaste of the dictating practice.

But the more I dictate to myself as a writer, the more I like it.

I recorded an entire chapter into my phone as I unpacked a few days ago. The chapter wasn’t perfect. Not even close. But it was more than I had accomplished in the previous ten days and, with a little revision, it has potential.

Dictation helped me break the writing silence. It was an effective, temporary solution when I had no choice but to multi-task. If you find yourself in situations where you can’t be in front of a computer, give it a try. Dictation could be especially helpful for those of us who work and have long commutes. Instead of cursing the car in front of you, make the commute valuable “writing” time. Soothing a baby to sleep? Dictate a story as you jostle and sway.

Just because we’re writers doesn’t mean we don’t have other jobs and responsibilities. If we want to make writing a priority, we have to work at it, stick with it, and move (😊) forward.

Have any other writing solutions when you’re stuck performing mindless tasks? I’d love to hear them!

Bethany Masone Harar is an author, teacher, and blogger, who does her best to turn reluctant readers into voracious book-reading nerds. Check out her blog here.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Beth--I don't have a true writing solution, but I do have a revising solution.

Are you stuck in a rut with your WIP? Take a walk with a friend, and talk to them about the project as you walk. The physical act of walking sometimes jars loose epiphanies.

You can also imagine a critical person--someone who's critical of your work. What do they look like? What are they wearing? Where are they sitting? Then, write a note to them. In your note, describe your WIP, write about where you're going with it, and describe the obstacles. Again, things might become illuminated...

Good luck with all those boxes... along with your writing. ;)

Marcia Peterson said...

This is a clever idea. Can't hurt to try it!

Margo Dill said...

I think where there is a will, there is always a way! :)

Beth said...

I'll admit it was strange at first, but it's worth a try!

Angela Mackintosh said...

Beth, I've been doing the same exact thing for a year or two, but for a freelance article writing gig. I live in Los Angeles, so I'm often stuck in traffic. I use that time to "write" articles on my phone. It totally works! The only thing I have to do when I get home is to transcribe the article and omit the cussing when someone cuts me off. LOL

Mary Horner said...

Good advice Beth, and I've tried it but it's not as effective for me. I'm more of a walker and talker like Sioux, and sometimes my friend is someone only I can "see!" But whatever works is the way to go!

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top