Short and Sweet Advice for Writers – Write Blind

These guys may have a creative advantage.

These guys may have a creative advantage.

So, for this post I’m trying something a little odd. I’m writing “blind.”

What I mean by that is that I’m not giving myself any way to look at the words as I type them. I picked up this trick from an essay by Vanessa Gebbie in Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction. In the essay, Gebbie suggests that you free up your muse and your creativity by simply writing without looking. (It’s kind of like the whole “Look, Ma! No hands!” thing.)  In the essay, she says,

On paper, this flash writing is easy. You just let your hand go, and don’t self-censor. On screen, it can be a little more difficult, as some people (myself included) tend to edit as they write as it is so easy to do on a computer. But this ruins the creative flow, and there are some tricks to help you write freely on screen. Try turning off the screen and typing blind. (And do try not to hit the Caps Lock key.) On a laptop, turn the font color to white. At first you may feel rather uncomfortable but you will get used to it, and what spills out will be fresh, clear writing. Just “let go” and allow the mind to produce its own fabulous connections.

For this post, I haven’t turned my screen off or changed my font color; I’ve simply angled the screen down so that I can’t see it. It feels odd to be writing while staring out the window, but it’s also kind of interesting how it feels so much more “direct” somehow. Sure, I’m making LOTS of typing mistakes, but those can be cleaned up later. There IS something very freeing about not seeing the words on the page – staring back at me in all their supposed “wrongness.” I can just type and it feels like it’s going no where. It feels “light.” It’s like they don’t really carry any weight (yet), and Im free to just mess around with different ideas and lines of thought.

Many writers have trouble editing while writing, but writing blind takes that possibility right off the table. After all, you can’t edit what you can’t see, right?

This would, I think, make a great brainstorming exercise as well. Instead of trying to work out an orderly outline for a piece, just start typing blind and then go back and pick out the good bits. It’s much more free form – more of an actual “brain dump,” as they say.

By writing blind, you get those little critic/editor monkeys off your back. This means you can write much (much!) faster. Without them chittering in your ear, you can fly through the first draft. Very cool.

So, I hope you’ll try this little trick, and – if you do – please drop a comment below to let me know how you make out.

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Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content marketer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian and aerial arts (not at the same time), and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Join me each Saturday for the Weekend Edition (a fun post and great community of commenters on the writing life, random musings, writing tips, and good reads), or introduce yourself on Facebooktwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
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Photo Credit: zhouxuan12345678 via Compfight cc