How to Write: Put Your Fingers on the Keyboard and WRITE

IBM Selectric Ball
To write something a person has to put pen to paper or, in my case, fingers to keyboard.
I type fast, having learned how to keyboard while in high school.  At that time, I never dreamed I would own a computer.  My big dream was an IBM Selectric–an electric typewriter with a ball instead of keys that got jammed together when I typed too fast.  After years of practice, I can keyboard almost as fast as I think.  Definitely as fast as I can talk.
The ability to type rapidly enables me to get my thoughts in front of me without losing them as new thoughts are processed.

I set aside time to write on my calendar.

By scheduling my time, I know I am going to sit down in front of the keyboard and create something.  That doesn’t mean I sit down to absolutely no idea of what to write.  I always have a general idea of which direction I am going.  I think about my stories or blog articles a lot before I actually show up at the keyboard.  I make notes in my iPhone if something particularly meaty occurs to me.

I don’t always type something meaningful or enlightening.  Often, it is just weird ramblings or several paragraphs in my novel that I can later delete.

The Delete Key

The main key to my writing is my delete key.  I know some writers disagree with that and treat every word they write as if they were chiseled onto a stone table.  For a while, I did, too.  I saved every word instead of deleting until I had a folder chock-a-block full of deleted paragraphs, phrases and chapters.

Delete Key

I NEVER went back in to re-read them.  Finally, I stopped saving everything and just delete, delete, delete.  Eventually, after two years of sitting idle and unopened, I deleted my deleted paragraphs folder.


I love the process of editing what I write.  How many times have I ran across something in someone else’s novel I am reading that just screams for an edit?  It is almost disappointing to me when what I have written reaches that point where no further editing is necessary.   In fact, the way I start writing when I am working on a novel is to read what I wrote the previous two or three days, edit while reading and then, I allow the ideas flow to add new content.  By the time I reach the end of the first draft, it is a nearly perfectly edited piece.

Let It Rest

Then, I let it rest for several days or even weeks before reading again and checking for additional edits needed.  I have at this point, chucked an entire body of work.  I have rearranged chapters, I have eliminated chapters.  I have even eliminated characters.  Then, I let it rest again.  And so forth until I am satisfied with the end product.
Working from an outline tends to limit my creativity.
I normally write on the fly, having a general idea of where I want the story to go.  It is like flying an airplane by dead reckoning.  I can pinpoint the landing as I get closer to my destination.
Write on the fly