Writing At My Day Job

10 10 2007

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I bought this little digital recorder (a Sony ICD-B5, which I heartily recommend) about four years ago, thinking that it would help me with my writing. I imagined that I would keep it with me and dictate all of my wonderful ideas into it whenever the occasion arose. It didn’t really pan out, in fact, this recorder spent nearly three of the past four years stuck in a box on a shelf in my closet. I don’t know why it didn’t seem to work, it just didn’t. I tend to ramble when I talk, and I never felt like taking the time to sit there and listen to myself go on and on so that I could extract some useful information that I could write down in some notes file somewhere. And then of course there is the unpleasant fact that my recorded voice sounds dorky.

Well, I’ve been grousing lately about my lack of writing time. My novel The Tronovich Ghost was completed in a passionate burst of creative energy following the shut down of the factory where I worked, and prior to my having secured other employment. I look back on that time fondly now, for all of the fact that I was dealing with having lost a $50k/year job. I was writing between eight and twelve hours per day, and I wrote the last 15,000 words in one marathon session that lasted nearly fifteen hours. As bad as that story wound up sucking in the end, I will go to my grave thinking that those six months were the most productive and happy months of my life up to that point.

I have another story now, a much better story than TTG, and I’m a much better writer than I was when I began my first novel. But of course, I have a job now. I wake up at 3 a.m. and write until 4:30 a.m., at which time I have to begin getting ready to go to work. I try to write a little after work, but by then I am tired and I usually don’t accomplish much. I have a job that is demanding, but for the most part I work by myself and have plenty of time to think about my current writing project. Not so much that I can stop and take notes, or jot down some story, though. It has been bugging me that I couldn’t find some way to make use of this time, and that was when I remembered my little Sony digital recorder.

I took it to work with me today, determined to “write” a little on my story while performing the duties for which I’m paid. It turned out to be a surprisingly pleasant experience. Picking up from where I had left off on my ms at 4:30, I formulated each new sentence in my head and, in slack moments here and there, dictated them into my recorder. It’s a slow process; you wouldn’t want to try and write an entire book this way. But it keeps me wonderfully involved with my WIP as I plod through my work day, and frankly, it seemed to make the day go by a little faster. That’s what we call a “two’fer” round these parts. And it’s good material. I find that the process of turning the phrases over and over in my head, refining them before I speak them into the recorder, actually improves my writing.

A “three-fer!”

Anyway, I’m off to transcribe everything over to the WIP. Of course, I’ll be using headphones so my wife doesn’t hear it. I do SO sound like a dork on any recording device…




4 responses

10 10 2007
Virginia Lee

Oh now, EVERYONE thinks they sound like a dork on recording devices. Seriously. I did reading for the blind in Memphis and when I’d listen to the playback I’d cringe. And I’m, in theory, a professional!

Have you ever tried writing with a you talk, it types kind of program? I’ve got one built into the programming of my laptop and, frankly, it freaks me out. Also, it totally misunderstands words about 1/3 of the time and I have to constantly spell things letter by letter. I’ve about given up on the thing.

Congrats on moving forward with your WIP, btw. That’s very inspiring. I’m still in the planning stages but am about to dive in full force on mine.


11 10 2007

Good luck to you on your upcoming writing project Virginia. Remember, a little bit each day adds up! That’s my philosophy, anyway. Thanks for reading and commenting.

11 10 2007
Danette Haworth

Haha! Even as kids, we listened to ourselves on tape recorders and shouted, “That doesn’t sound like me! My voice doesn’t sound like that!

“Yes it does,” the other kids would say.

11 10 2007

LOL. And it doesn’t get any better, at least for me. I used my recorder for the second time today and learned something. Stuck on your story sucks just as bad whether you’re dictating it, or typing on the screen. Oh well…thanks for stopping by Danette.

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