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    My daily writing--emails, journal entries, marginalia, more emails, blog posts, and tweets--shapes me as a writer, helping and hindering the big stuff I'm trying to accomplish. Every word counts.

    My name is James Black. I'm on Facebook and Twitter. Friend and/or follow me if you like.

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When I Make Time for #amwriting, I #amwriting.

I’ve become an avid follower of the hashtag #amwriting on Twitter. Writers typically use it to indicate they’re currently in the process of writing, although some add it to anything they post about the practice of writing.

Of course, a lot of #amwriting tweets are structured around the verb phrase “am writing,” e.g., “I #amwriting until I have to go to work.” Tweeting grammatically correct sentences with any particular verb phrase is harder than you’d think, even for writers. Because I’m a writer, I #amwriting a lot, (I lucked out there) and I have more to say than obediently adhering to “am writing” allows.

Twitter’s 140-character limit encourages creative usage of grammar, such as trimming unnecessary words and abbreviating spellings, but #amwriting tweeters go even further. Someone might write, “Kids woke early from nap; #amwriting time got cut short.” In this example, #amwriting replaces the noun form of “writing,” again to identify the practice of writing. The word “writing” would make sense in this context, but #amwriting leaves little doubt, emphasizing that the verb in this noun is not mere residue.

There’s honesty in this phenomenon that gets beneath the superficial crap of grammar. The ongoing #amwriting stream and the discussions within it address the challenges a writer faces as she accumulates words, deletes some of those words, rearranges what’s left, adds new, and continues doing all of that in no particular order until she has created a polished, publishable work. Why should she obsess about what others think of her work when she’s still developing ideas, structure, arguments, etc., that are the higher-order concerns of a piece of writing.

Grammar and usage (a.k.a., lower- or later-order concerns) are not irrelevant, but there’s not much point in obsessing about comma usage, for example, if you’re still figuring out the main argument. You’ve got to prioritize use of #amwriting time (so you don’t run out of it too soon) and energy (so you can replenish it as you go along).

What I like best is the sense of community within the #amwriting stream. Almost every writer I’ve known has complained about isolation. We do need a lot of time by ourselves, but too much time alone gets exhausting. We write about characters and other people’s ideas, and we want people to read and buy our books. If the products we write are so people-centered, why shouldn’t #amwriting be, too?

Sorry to blog and bail. I #amwriting a novel and need to get back to #amwriting it.

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One Response

  1. […] My configuration of all the complexities is unique, but really, I’m not too different from other writers. I understand that this is how it […]

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