05 October

Visualize First, Write Second...

I realize we writers write in different ways...

I was told once that to be a visual writer is to be a rarity, but I think that's only a half-truth. I believe writers who only see words and not the visual images of their tale means they haven't yet developed the ability to see with their mind's eye what they intend to put on paper.

Today, this post is a simple one. Visualize first, write second.

In other words, if you are having trouble getting those words down on the page, STOP. Sit back in your chair and "live" in that world you're creating...

  • Who do you see? What do they look like? How are they dressed?
  • What do you see?
  • Where are you? What era in time?
  • What are the people saying? Is their language foreign? Or do they have accents?
  • Is there a singular event taking place? Is it good? Or bad?
  • What are the onlooker reactions to that event?

In other words, let the individual scenes play out before you, before you become the dictation secretary to that tale.

Because honestly, I think that's all we writers are... superb at taking dictation for other worlds and other people in those worlds. So, you think I'm some kind of airy-fairy, artsy-fartsy, huh? Hey, snicker all you want. Try and prove me wrong! :-P

While you are visualizing, or just after your visualizing ends, jot down answers to my questions above. Start to cement, in words, what your mind's eye is showing you, because here's the key:


That's the plain and simple truth.

If you can hone this ability, it will save you buckets-full of angst and frustration and gloomy thoughts about your skill as a wordsmith.

If I can visualize a scene in its general parts, I will sit down at the keyboard and my lousy typing skills can't keep up with the words that are popping up in my mind I need to use to tell the world what it is I'm seeing.

  • There is zero doubt, zero questioning if what I'm writing is correct.
  • No hemming and hawing about word choice, mechanics, delivery style.
  • I'm literally hammering out the words that convey the image in my mind.

The only cursing going on is my brain wishing to heavens my fingers typed faster. (As an aside, I did take typing in college. I made the grade of achieving the minimum 45 words/minute to pass. Immediately after passing, I went straight back to my war correspondent-like hacking of the keys... yes, I'm THAT kind of arrogant so-and-so. In my next life, I'll be nice. I promise.)

HOMEWORK: If this describes you and your slow-as-molasses production of words onto the page, I want you to STOP writing, and START visualizing. The more you do it, the easier it will get, the quicker your fantastic tales will materialize for the rest of us word gobblers to enjoy!

P.S. It works for learning how to downhill ski, too. Less falling on one's caboose with red-faced embarrassment as other skiers look at you and shake their heads. Don't ask me how I know this. ;-)

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