I don’t spend too much time writing about the way I write and why, but if I did decide to take a minute to analyze my work I would probably say I’m an unconscious writer. I’m sure you’ve heard writers talk about how the words just came to them. Well, I’m generally one of those writers. Often I will sit down without a coherent thought in my head, start typing anyway, and in fifteen minutes something fully formed is on the screen and ready to go. Yes, it can be really weird at times.
I was talking to a fellow writer friend of mine the other day, and she told me she preferred silence in which to write. And I took a few moments to consider that. I don’t think I’ve ever really had any silent moments in my life, not when there wasn’t something else to do or somewhere else to be. So I’ve developed an appreciation of, and indeed a reliance on, noise to keep me going while writing. A while ago I did get a private moment with no noise and I couldn’t concentrate enough to write anything. Maybe something is wrong with me.
As an English major in school I took many writing intensive courses, and I loved them all by and large. It wasn’t for all the reading materials, although those Greek and Roman mythology readings were phenomenal. It was really all about the chance to write anything, and to have someone else read it. You see, before college the only people who saw what I wrote were my family members, and a friend or two. College introduced me to that larger audience and I reveled in it.
In fact, when I went to the University of Tennessee I even worked on the college newspaper as a staff writer. That was an eye opening experience because not only did I get to write for a larger audience, but I carried a by-line so people who might have had no clue who I was before were following my work on a weekly basis. It was humbling, and also a lot of work.
What I remember most about working on the college newspaper were the deadlines and trying to find time within them to interview people and turn them into soundbytes in the article. Never before had I been under such pressure. Usually, when I was assigned a paper for class I did it right away, so I wasn’t sweating it out at the last second, but with the paper the deadlines were so tight and I couldn’t just write the article right away. For the first time I stressed over something having to do with writing. It was so strange.
Now I write a lot, but the vast majority of it is under no deadline. I write what I want and when I want, which helps me breathe a lot easier than those paper days. I had a conversation with another friend a few days ago about writing styles, and I told her that this computer site analyzed my writing and said it most resembled that of Dan Brown (of Da Vinci Code fame). She said there were worse things out there to be compared with. I guess I was hoping that the computer site would tell me instead that I sounded like Sam McManus. Maybe some day it will say that for a young aspiring writer who queries it. We’ll see.
Actually, to tell you the truth, maybe I don’t want that after all. I hope they won’t even use that site and just enjoy their own unique voice. I know I’m enjoying my own unconscious writing. And that’s okay.