Writing Vertically

Here’s something to think about, as though we don’t have enough already.  Do you write vertically or horizontally?  Me.  I think I write vertically and when I try to write horizontally like I am currently with my 300 words a day appointment or when I try to participate in NaNoWriMo, I’m never happy with the result.

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About kingmidget

About the name. I was the youngest of four. Until I got to kindergarten, I didn't have much to say. All I had to do to get what I wanted was to point, and a sibling, or loving parent, would fulfill my request. As a result, my father coined the nickname -- King Midget. At least that's the way the story goes. I am a father, husband, friend, and lover, writer, runner, pizza maker, baker, and many other things. What I am not is my occupation. It is my job that pays the bills and provides for my family. But, it does not define me.
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12 Responses to Writing Vertically

  1. olivia says:

    That was my problem with NaNo too. I was forcing words out faster than I was digesting a story. It taught me I could write a whole book, but it wasn’t the type of book I felt confident about when finished. My new project feels better because I’m not forcing out at record speed. I’m rereading chapters as I go and I like it much better for it– love the link, thanks for sharing.

    • olivia says:

      PS. “I have never been a writer with a lot of time to write. I am thankful for that. I am not sure what would happen if I had hours to work. Not being able to write makes me want to write very badly. It makes me not want to squander the moments when I sit with a story. This is a necessary tension. I am not a writer first. I have a family, and without them I would have little reason to want to write — or to do anything else. My desire to create is held in silence during the day, so that my literary moments can be focused and absolute.” Love this.

      • kingmidget says:

        People always say to just write and fix it in the editing. That’s just not how I write. Like you, I go back and read old chapters and tweak them and then move forward. By the time I have finished a first draft, I’ve basically written what I want because it has percolated for so long in my head and i have tweaked things so much as I have gone along. For me, editing really just means finding typos and glaring mistakes. Doesn’t mean I’m not open to significant editing if a beta reader has valid suggestions, but I’m generally not able to come up with that kind of editing on my own.

      • kingmidget says:

        And, yes, that quote is pretty good. There was a time when I was very good at writing in those small moments between this and that. I basically wrote One Night in Bridgeport in the evenings while watching my kids do their homework and get ready of bed and on weekends while they played in the pool or out front with their friends. Something happened in the last couple of years though and I’ve lost the ability to write in those moments. Still trying to figure out how to make it all work again.

  2. olivia says:

    Funny, it won’t let me hit reply on your comments above. It is interesting how many different ways there are to write. With Expecting Happiness, I wrote one huge blob and then hated rereading it over and over again– I’m trying to avoid that trap this time. It sounds like we have similar writing styles. I’m glad we both figured out that Nano isn’t necessarily the answer! And, I know the feeling, it is hard to write in those in between moments, I prefer big blocks, but I thought the longing to write because there isn’t enough time was beautifully described. I feel that all the time, but sometimes I wonder if I had more time if I would actually use it or feel as smitten with the process. It’s a little bit of wanting what you can’t have, for me at least. Although, who knows, maybe I’d feel the same if I could write for more than a naps worth at a time!! 😀

    • kingmidget says:

      I agree regarding wanting what you don’t have. If I suddenly didn’t have a job tomorrow, I’m pretty sure I would still be struggling to write and bemoaning the lack of time because of all the other things I’d be doing.

  3. Trent Lewin says:

    If I take your meaning right, Mark, I write vertically. when the time and inspiration permits… in mad fits of words. Scheduling doesn’t work for me, between a hefty corporate job and three young kids. Now, if only I could remain vertical myself a bit more, but somehow the scotch prefers to see me tumble fairly frequently…

    • kingmidget says:

      To me what defines writing horizontally, according to the article I linked to, is writing to a word goal every day. As though the objective is the number of words rather than the quality of the writing. Writing vertically focuses on the quality rather than the quantity. Whenever I try something that reaches for a word count goal, I fail. I feel like I’m forcing it and not writing as well as I should. So, I just need to stop trying those approaches to get me to write because like you, scheduling doesn’t really work given all of the other demands on my time.

  4. I just write and fix in the editing, as you say above. Result sometimes not so good – but I hate taking trouble, I’m too lazy.

    • kingmidget says:

      Every writer needs to find the approach that works for them. For me, I’ve finally realized that I can’t force it. I can’t use a word goal, or something similar, to write. It’s something that has to come when it comes and not a moment sooner. Which can be really, really, really, really, really frustrating.

  5. Interesting idea, horizontal versus vertical writing. In regards to your mention of Nanowrimo, I think it’s better for beginning writers who need that drive to get anything down on paper. We all need to go at our own pace.
    -David

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