The idea is simple. So simple I hated it because it seemed too good to be true. And I kinda felt like I wasn’t doing “real” writing.
I put it into action because I had no choice if I wanted to get work done. The benefits became apparent months later and now I want to share them with you.
So what is this trick I keep rambling about? You’ve already got the tools you need to put it to use today: your voice and the voice recording app that comes free on every smart phone.
And how is this going to benefit your writing?
It’s Hands Free
You can use it during any menial task that requires hands but little brain power. Hit record and start talking. Just make sure you’re alone so you don’t have to answer any awkward questions about the murder you’re plotting.
Now chores don’t get in the way of writing time. If fact, after a while, you’ll look forward to it.
It’s a Different Medium
Thinking out loud is different than thinking on paper or computer. We tend to self-edit as we write. Talking to yourself, you don’t edit what comes out because there’s no one to judge or offend but you.
Plus, nothing has been committed to paper yet so you don’t feel as bound to the work as when it’s written down. You’re free to delete as you please without feeling like you’ve just wasted perfectly good ink and paper or space on your hard drive.
Yes, I know, writing is therapeutic. But there’s more than one thing that can make you feel better. Getting it out on paper helps me but there’s also something cathartic about saying it out loud.
If you’re like me, you run off on wild tangents while you’re writing. Usually they aren’t personal or I don’t realize they are at the time. When I’m talking to myself though, I tend to stray even further off the beaten path. This helps me work out what’s bothering me which in turn helps me beat creative blocks and feeds my writing.
It’s Awkward In the Beginning but You Get Used to It
Talking to yourself is usually a symptom associated with insanity so we tend to feel awkward in the beginning. Then you realize that chances are what you’re saying is crazy whether it’s on paper or out loud and you relax.
Don’t let the awkwardness stop you. It’s just you and your phone. And you’ll adjust. Once you’re comfortable, the real you will come out and you won’t sound so weird to yourself.
It’s Interesting…Very Interesting
This is when I really began to love voice recordings. It’s the listening to it later part that gets interesting. Hearing your own voice is kind of weird but past the weird part is the good stuff. There are patterns and ideas there that you didn’t realize existed when you said it out loud the first time. Subconscious ticks, inconsistencies, and even what you didn’t say can all speak louder than what you did say.
If an idea sounds like shit out loud, it will sound like shit on paper too. Many, many times I’ve made recordings about ideas that I thought were brilliant only to listen to them later and find out they’re clichéd or nonsensical.
And that’s okay. It’s why we edit and change ideas so they aren’t shit. Or, worst case, just delete it before you have to face the embarrassment of someone discovering your idiocy.
It’s A Good Way to Filter Out Crap Before You Write
Earlier I said that a lot of crap comes out when you’re talking to yourself. Some of it can get pretty personal and some of it is random.
The good news is you can cut all of that out when you start writing. Grab some headphones and take notes on your computer. Just what you want to keep. While you’re reviewing your recordings, you may come up with an even better idea.
It’s Not the Same but Has Its Own Benefits
No, it’s not the same feeling you get when you sit down to a blank screen or pick up a new pen and notebook. But somehow, in its own weird way, it works.
Maybe it won’t be your number-one-go-to but it just might help you get more work done during busy weeks.