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Spontaneous Writing: My Dilemma

English: This is a Venn diagram showing the re...
English: This is a Venn diagram showing the relationships between pronunciation, spelling, and meaning of words, for example, homographs, homonyms, homophones, heteronyms, and heterographs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever find that the monologue in your head is so much more brilliant than you? The words flow with an amazingly beautiful voice but faster than the hand can reproduce. There’s an exercise called spontaneous writing that, I believe, tries to capture what’s in your head.

Certainly, spelling has no use there…at least not for me, I cannot presume to know if you “see” words in your head when my head is filled only with my voice. BTW- I do see numbers and charts in my head in a three-dimensional and, what I have come to understand, bizarre fashion. But, I’m on a word search today.

My dilemma, most of my writing is prompted by my personal dilemmas, is the act of spontaneous writing. The NANO month of November is one example. There’s also a blog , Magic in the Backyard by author Kellie Elmore, which asks for raw prose. The prime directive of these writing prompts is to write without any focus on grammar, spelling or corrections.

I want to do this! It sounds like a fun, and such a freeing, act but I somehow cannot make the final leap. My inner editor won’t shut down and I won’t do it and cheat. In order to take part, I have to be willing to produce material that is “unclean” and share it.

Does this come from an arrogance? I ask myself. Am I afraid to be seen as imperfect? My answer is, not exactly. Some of it IS from not wanting to be terribly imperfect. If you’ve seen my spelling errors even when I use spell check, then you may already suspect it. BUT, I believe my hesitance is more about being misunderstood.

Words are such an anemic medium. It takes careful placement and timing to reproduce the author’s meaning. In my case, I want meaning to be as clear as words allow and I cannot envision my writing being shared when I have not reread and edited it for meaning ,and yes, I believe incorrect spelling does dilute meaning. At the very least, it interrupts the flow and pleasure of the reader. And who of you doesn’t realize how very important the placement of commas can be?

So there you have it. I want desperately to play and I will not cheat which makes it so very hard for me to try.

Do you suffer the same struggle when asked to write spontaneously?

PS…this post was spell checked repeatedly and was corrected every time. 🙂


I love a well told story. If it makes me laugh, all the better.

9 thoughts on “Spontaneous Writing: My Dilemma

  1. Dear Susan,
    I understand how you feel. Remember when you’re writing freely, it’s a draft. You don’t have to share it with anyone. When you’re doing National Novel Writing Month, you can make up your own rules for your punctuation and grammar while writing. I found it was easier for me to put quotation marks in while I was writing and tell who said each quote. I didn’t the first time and it took me a very loooooong time to edit them. The second time I did it, I put the quotes and saids in. I just wrote from my head and my heart, but it worked out much better. The main thing NANO wants you to do is get 50,000 words down in the 30 days of November. What I’m trying to tell you is that you can make up your own rules for you when writing freely. Have fun with it.
    Thanks for putting a link to my blog. I appreciate it very much.
    Do something fun to celebrate your love of writing!
    Joan Y. Edwards

    1. I am planning to give the NANO experience a good try. Thanks for your helpful advice. In the meantime, I will experiment…play. 😉

  2. Thanks for the mention!

    When I am writing, the words are dumped on the page. The REAL work happens in the editing and clean-up. Then, I’m not so spontaneous!

  3. I know exactly what you mean. It reminds me of the movie Hitch, where after his date bombs he says, “I say that going a little differently in my head,” LOL.

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