Always Respect The Words

writing, writing tips, screenwriting, advice, Modern PhilosopherI have one simple writing tip that I’d like to pass along today, Modern Philosophers:

Always respect the words.

I hear so many people say that anyone can be a writer because it’s easy to put down words on paper and then pass them off as a finished story.

Those of us who are truly writers, however, know that such thinking is a load of $%^&.

Always respect the words.

What this philosophy means is that you should never sit down to write simply for the sake of saying that you got some writing done.

Yes, anyone with access to a computer, pencil, crayon, or even blood can assemble words on any canvas.  You don’t even need to punctuate the mess.  Just gather the words in neat rows and call it a day.

But don’t call it writing.

I never open the laptop to write unless I have an excellent idea of what is going to flow from my brain and onto the page.  I’m not the type of person who ever sets an assigned writing time and then must crank out a certain amount of words or pages in order to officially cross the task off my list for the day.

Because writing should never be a task.

writing, screenwriting, writing tips, philosophy, humor, writingEven when I’m working on a paying writing gig, I only sit down to write when I know what I want to say.  I never force it because if I were to do that, I wouldn’t be showing the words the respect they deserve.

Never write just to write.  Write to create.  Write because you have something to say.  Write because if you don’t get the story out of your head, your brain will explode.

A perfect example of this writing philosophy occurred just yesterday at The House on the Hill.  I’d gotten up early to put in a few hours of overtime at the office, and upon returning to the aforementioned abode, I was very eager to work on my new screenplay.

I wanted to get the unmistakable stench of office work off of me the best way I knew how…by writing.

However, my mind was not in a very good place.  Those of you who spoke to me yesterday know I was going through something, my brain was otherwise occupied, and I could not yank my thoughts back to this side of the ocean where they needed to be.

So even though I was desperate to work on my new screenplay, which is so close to being a completed first draft, I refused to write.

Writing would have been very therapeutic.  Writing would have made me feel like I had some control in a very shaky situation.  Writing also would have resulted in several crappy pages being added to my screenplay.

Always respect the words.

wrting tips, screenwriting, writing, philosophy, language, humor, Modern PhilosopherWhatever would have come out of my brain yesterday would have been utter crap, the product of my forcing the issue when the creative side of my brain was screaming out that it was not prepared to give me its best.

That’s why I didn’t write yesterday, Modern Philosophers.

It would have been very disrespectful to the words that mean far too much to me.

The screenplay isn’t going anywhere.  If anything, the story will only get better because I allowed it to simmer in my head for another day.

The words will reward me for showing them the respect I deserve.

Always respect the words, and the words will take care of you.

It’s not a question of respect, but I’d be tickled if you followed me on Pinterest…

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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8 Responses to Always Respect The Words

  1. SD Gates says:

    I completely agree with you!!! I try to do what everyone says, by sitting down each morning and writing in my book. But if the words and the ideas are not their it is like pulling stubborn weeds from a garden, they just won’t come at all. And if I do force myself to write words that don’t flow from my heart, my fingers hover over the keyboard as if I am experiencing some kind of Parkinsons event. Better to let the words flow, when they are ready to.

  2. womanpulse says:

    Such a good idea. I don’t know if I call myself a writer but I have always and still do write everything down by hand, it helps me to organize my thoughts

  3. Em, I find I have to “respect” or “talkdown” to my readers more than worry about the wording. Words are merely representations of ideas, after all; good readers can put together an idea even if its horribly explained.

    Understand your meaning, just in a bitching mood. Proper use of language can convey extremely complex ideas with minimal words. On the other hand, many people have a “spray and pray” approach to writing – using as many words as possible to convey the simplest of ideas. No respect there.

  4. evmoog says:

    I totally agree. See here in my poem:

    Thanks for speaking your mind and telling it like it is.

  5. Gail says:

    Your reference to a story simmering draws an analogy to cooking. I can cook just to eat, which is less than satisfying in
    execution and consumption, or I can cook to experience creation and originality, bringing all five senses to life both in composition and satiety.

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