Does it hurt when you write?

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Ben
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Does it hurt when you write?

Postby Ben » Sun Sep 24, 2006 1:35 pm

Does it hurt when you write? Are you literally in physical discomfort as you sit before your computer/typewriter and attempt to put word on paper? I am, and that doesn't make any sense. Some people tell me that I'm a decent writer, but then why does it hurt so much?

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Postby Moderator » Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:27 pm

(As Steve)

(I was tempted to reference my carpal tunnel, but fortunately sense prevailed.)


Ben, this is an excellent question, and I think it's got multiple answers from multiple sources. For me writing hurts only if I am forcing it. When it flows freely it seems to have a life of its own and I am just a carrier. But I write in a free-flow way, and I've noticed -- in particular -- that those writers who edit as they go tend to find the process akin to Daedelus and the stone. One very good friend of mine, who is cited in Susan K Perry's excellent Writing in Flow writes only a thousand or so words a day on a good day, the words he selects are well chosen but arduous. The odd thing is, he writes humorous pieces.

But, as I wrote above, I don't hurt so much as a response to the writing as to editing I do much later in the process.

Steve B
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

A Wasted Mind
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Postby A Wasted Mind » Sun Sep 24, 2006 3:56 pm

When the words flow effortlessly from brain to keyboard I'm not aware of time passing at all. When I'm having a rough patch, I have to literally force myself to sit at the keyboard and make my fingers move.

Lately I've become one of those edit-as-you-go types, so there are times when I feel as though I've accomplished a lot if I write a full page in a day. I sometimes spend an hour on a single sentence because I'm looking for just the right word, or phrase, or puncutation. Generally speaking, though, when the sentence is done, it's exactly the way I want it to be. The telling moment is when I re-read the piece after not looking at it for a few days; if there's no urge to edit further, I've done well.

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David Loftus
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Re: Does it hurt when you write?

Postby David Loftus » Sun Sep 24, 2006 11:44 pm

Ben wrote:Does it hurt when you write? Are you literally in physical discomfort as you sit before your computer/typewriter and attempt to put word on paper? I am, and that doesn't make any sense. Some people tell me that I'm a decent writer, but then why does it hurt so much?



Ehhmm . . . what kind of pain and where? In the fingers? Wrists? Shoulders? Neck? Head? Rear end?
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Re: Does it hurt when you write?

Postby Gwyneth M905 » Mon Sep 25, 2006 12:37 am

Ben wrote:Does it hurt when you write? Are you literally in physical discomfort as you sit before your computer/typewriter and attempt to put word on paper? I am, and that doesn't make any sense. Some people tell me that I'm a decent writer, but then why does it hurt so much?


I hate having to write, will procrastinate up the wazoo, feel sick to my stomach, get a headache, alla that hypochondriacal nonsense, but once I sit down to writing, if the words flow, there's no problem. I usually have two projects going at once: the hard project I have to work on, and a soft project (usually a parody, porno, or romance on another window). When I get stuck on the hard project, I just switch to the nonsense one and type until things start flowing again. And I love having written.

Then again, rereading and editing what I have written is a bear. Lucky thing I'm just a writer for the desk drawer or to torture other people on bulletin boards like this one!

Cheers,
Gwyneth

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Ezra Lb.
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Postby Ezra Lb. » Tue Sep 26, 2006 10:42 am

Only in my heart.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Thu Sep 28, 2006 2:54 pm

I can't write with my hand very well. It cramps up or shakes when I write. The internet has a lot to do with it, I'd suspect.

david_n_scott
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Postby david_n_scott » Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:06 pm

Yeah, I feel that ways sometimes--headachey and stomach sick. Only when the words aren't flowing, though.

My situation is complicated by athritis, though, for what that's worth.

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Fri Nov 03, 2006 2:09 pm

Where did Ben go?

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Postby david_n_scott » Fri Nov 03, 2006 2:16 pm

He's there. It just hurts to answer, so he wants to wait a bit and do it all at once. :wink:

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Fri Nov 03, 2006 2:33 pm

Ben is off getting his mohawk haircut and out buying black market guns for when the dark forces come.

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Tue Nov 07, 2006 11:18 am

Well, Ben -- I'd like to tell you more and maybe help you out, but it's not gonna happen without a little more input from you.

Let me say that for the most part, no, I do not experience any pain in the process of writing.

Now, there are different methods of writing that may have different consequences. When I was in my college and beyond, I wrote nearly all my letters by hand; and these averaged 4 pages apiece, some got to be as long as 16 or 20. I didn't necessarily write those all in one sitting, of course, but I also didn't take days to finish them -- I think even the longest ones got written and sent within 24 hours. But I lived alone and had a lot of time on my hands.

Nowadays, I do most of my writing -- of any kind -- on computers, so my hand muscles are no longer used to writing with a pen. My hand does get stiff and sore much sooner ... say, after two or three pages.

Composing on computer is a breeze. My eyes get tired, sometimes I'll develop a slight headache or stiffness in the lower back, but that's not from the writing per se; more from having to spend so much time on computers the REST of my waking life (for work), so that writing for myself is an extra physical burden in that respect.

Of course, when I'm seriously writing for myself, I often and repeatedly get up and pace a lot, to think and procrastinate, so that gives my eyes and back a rest, and stretches the legs. . . .
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Hathor
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Postby Hathor » Wed Nov 22, 2006 12:48 am

Does it hurt to write? No. Does it hurt to READ what I write? Yes.
All the time.

A musician who has a bad open-mic night or an actor who KNOWS deep down they are blowing their part might be frustrated as hell, but get over it, and press on without a trace of the conflicting inner agony ever reaching the audience.

When that first draft comes spewing out of me, and I have to polish, pressure-wash, flense, eviscerate, and hope to GOD I don't lose the nuance of the scene with the wrong turn of phrase....BLLLAAGGGHHHH!

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Ben
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Postby Ben » Wed Nov 22, 2006 4:12 pm

FrankChurch wrote:Ben is off getting his mohawk haircut and out buying black market guns for when the dark forces come.


Oh, I wish. Truth of the matter is, I was simply distracted by life, as life tends to do. I also thought this section of the forum was relatively deserted, so I kind of abandoned youse guys. My sincerest apologies.

Anyway, David...the pain I experience when I sit down to write is more of the "headache" variety. I'm actually intimidated by my own stories and characters, as if I was somehow unworthy of them...which is completely irrational, but there you go. A story can come to me piece-by-piece, or not at all. Sometimes my brain feels like a giant, wet wad of thick oil, and I can't progress at all. A story can become an ogre, casting a shadow over any potential joy I might have felt during the day.

I also experience pain of the physical sort as well. I'm a big guy (6'4) so more often than not I keep finding myself having to bend over to bash away at my keyboard, causing a terrible tightness to develop in my spine.

And yet I can't stop writing.

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Hathor
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Postby Hathor » Sun Nov 26, 2006 1:28 am

Ben wrote:

"A story can come piece-by-piece, or not at all"

What I've always hated is the out of sequence flash of inspiration which makes absolutely no sense with what I'm trying to focus on. I'll be writing a linear moment while my head is constructing a situation ten years ahead of what I'm putting down on posterity. (paper,disk, etc.)

I feel like a director filming out of sequence, and have a vision in my mind's eye of those rumors of Salinger making flowcharts of the Glass family for stories no-one will read because he doesn't want to write them.


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