I’ve been writing voluntarily since I was knee high to a grass hopper and was often perplexed that after countless stories, I am still not lost for ideas. Thirty plus years later and I find myself in a position where I feel the pressure of time escaping my ability to capture all that is within me to tell.
My career as a budding writer only began upon the turn of chance in 2013, so little is currently known of my full works. I’m still in two minds as to whether I will release the other stories that have preceded my decision to write for public consumption. Time and desire will be the final adjudicator on this.
The experience of prepping my work for publication has certainly placed me in a state of awareness about the importance of having independent eyes assess my work. Initially, I wasn’t certain that I needed an editor. The reality was quite the opposite as I soon found myself recognizing that I had been so entrenched in my writing that I had become blind to my own errors. My age old trick of carefully reading the words out loud to myself still had me defaulting to reading between the lines. Especially when I cycled through the same story multiple times.
Originality is critical when writing. I want to maintain my interest in the story I’m producing and obviously the reader wants to be entertained. This is where I have leveraged off the use of various tried and true writing tools. I’m never without access to a dictionary, thesaurus and these days a grammar checking application. As I said in the introduction to this post, I have many a story, what I find I’m struggling with is ensuring that I maintain a sense of originality in the wordsmithing of my pieces. It’s a fine balance between maintaining a consistency in delivery without boring our united senses with word and descriptive overuse.
‘What are the right writing aids to use?’
My choice to use the word ‘right’ in the question posed above is tongue in cheek. There is no right or wrong, at least that is my perspective. The tools available should be measured by how they fulfill your needs. I’ve researched some of the grammar, spell checking applications currently available on the market. It’s clear there is no singular application, which is considered 100% infallible, especially when it comes to the application of grammar. In saying this the increase in uptake of the self publishing realm has driven a burst of new software to support people in their writing endeavors. I am currently using WhiteSmoke 2012 to challenge my grammatical skills and generally sanity check my work along the way.
Personally, I find the new age of apps being frequently developed very exciting. My iPad is filled with hundreds of writing based concepts. When I am taking some downtime from developing my novel, I go online to search for the latest writing gizmo or idea because off the back of this, I find my mind expands to leverage ideas for improved, planning, marketing and writing.
Here are a few of my favorites in no particular order:
“No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.”
― Edward Hopper
Go forth and do your research. Find the applications that peak your interest, download them and experiment. I personally feel that my mind has broadened with ideas, my vocabulary is consistently expanding and my grammar is improving. The only area where I am still falling short is my type to spelling ratio. Old habits die hard. My digits often seem to shift slower across the keyboard than my mind, hence auto correct is kept busy fixing my habitual errors. The word processors these days are great, but I do find having it default to auto fix removes my need to be accurate.
‘Does automation make us lazy?’
I’m leaning towards a resounding no, and this is strictly speaking for myself in regard to the way I choose to use the applications I have at my disposal. Lord knows there is no such thing as perfect, and thankfully I am not the personality type, which strive towards this (although some who know me would argue otherwise). I’II profess to being a geek, sure no problems but a perfectionist, nope. My view is that if I am aware, I have spelt it incorrectly, (which more often than not I am), then auto correct can do its thing. I aim to continually learn along the way and do my best to get it right without aid, but am grateful the technology is there to be my virtual wingman on my fictional journey.
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
― Ernest Hemingway
Passion, dedication and an endless willingness to be the humble student are the role I execute as a writer. My mind is a labyrinth laden with ideas, imaginings, learning, which I leverage to create my own flavor of fiction for reader’s consumption. This is where I want to focus my time so it stands to reason that the more proficiency I hold in the craft and utilize the technological tools, which support the execution of the craft, the more time I will have available to focus on what I dearly love to do. Tell stories.
Blessings – Truth Devour