Writing, writing, writing

| writing

It takes me about 3 1/2 hours to write 2000 words.  That works out to roughly 10 words a minute.  I type a lot faster than that on a regular basis.  The bottleneck isn’t typing, it’s my brain.  Part of it is getting a handle on what I want to say and how I want to say it.  I work with an outline. It’s really helpful, but I find it difficult to work in the breadth-first matter suggested by other writers. I have a hard time going from the outline to a more detailed outline and to an even more detailed outline, and so on. I find it easier to think of things in terms of a conversation. I find it easier to write a blog post than to successively refine outlines. This explains the recent spate of 2000-word blog posts on my blog. I don’t normally write this much, but it’s the best way for me to get the information out of my head and into a form that I can read.

The Dragon NaturallySpeaking box arrived today, and I’ve installed it in my computer.  I’m excited about trying it out, although it’s quite interesting getting used to dictation.  I’m finding out that I can’t really talk off the cuff yet.  I think it will be good training for me, as dictation encourages you to think things through before you start talking.  Theoretically, as I read more to the computer, or dictate more to the computer, that is, it’ll get more used to how I say things.  There’s still a long way to go before I can use it to transcribe recordings, though.

So my life for the past few days and the next few days — it’s just full of words.  From working on a wiki in the morning to working on my book in the evening, I’m writing a heck of a lot and I really really love it.  I enjoy thinking about what I’ve learned, thinking about the questions that I want to ask, trying to organize all that information in a way that makes sense to other people who might not be familiar with the topic.  And by golly, I think I’m getting the hang of it.  2000 words is roughly the size of, say, a LinuxJournal article.  And yet this is the second day straight that I’ve managed to turn out one of those.  Granted, the posts are on material that I know and have written about before. This is where all the blog posts helped because even if I didn’t copy and paste what I’d written before, I’d had some practice in thinking things through. And I’ll get better and better as I keep talking, keep writing, keep figuring things out.

Speaking of getting the hang of writing, too, I spent some time earlier putting together a Perl script that downloaded all the posts from my company blog and formatted them into a something I could turn into a miniature book.  I wanted to review all the blog posts in preparation for an upcoming interview.  It was surprisingly easy to do.  I loved being able to look at all my entries and see what I’d been thinking over the past year.  I was surprised to find out that I had written almost 50,000 words through the year.  140 pages.  50,000 words is about the number of words that people strive for in the NaNoWriMo contest.  NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month, when people try to write that novel that they’ve always been planning to write but never got to around to. 50,000 words. Of course, they try to do all of that in one month, which is a bit more of a timeframe than I’d want to commit to.  Still, I’ve written that in the last year, just the casual stuff, just the stories, just me saying, okay this is what I’m working on, this is what I’m doing today, this is what I’m wondering about…

If I can do 2000 words in 3.5 hours, which is roughly all the writing time I have in one day, and then multiply that by 30 days… If I manage to write consistently for 30 days, then I’ll be like Stephen King, turning out a book in a month. Although maybe I won’t quit ebe there yet… I need to get this book out. One thing at a time…

You can comment with Disqus or you can e-mail me at sacha@sachachua.com.