“When Writing Feels August” GUEST POST by TAMI KAMIN MEYER
As a freelance writer with many years of experience, I have written many things. News stories, feature articles, blog posts, essays, emails, social media posts, press releases and more.
More often than not, I write without an outline. The words flow directly from my brain to my fingertips, and I am merely the mechanism for that transfer.
While that harmonious flow is an amazing feeling, it doesn’t guarantee the mass of content I just spewed makes any sense.
You see, I don’t know what led me to journalism and writing. The first time I used the noun and adjective ‘writer’ to describe myself was as a high school senior, when our drama teacher tasked my classmates and I with creating a pictorial collage that captured our essence.
I recall gluing the word ‘writer’ on my collage, but literally do not know why I choose that word. To date, I hadn’t written anything of note, and I didn’t think of myself as a writer, either. I didn’t enjoy reading very much and, other than Judy Blume, didn’t care for many authors.
Still, while my sub-conscious must have known something about my covert desire and ability to write, it sure didn’t mention anything to me.
I am in a zone . . .
. . . when the words flow from my brain to my fingertips, transforming them from random thoughts into concrete language right before my eyes. It is magical, mysterious and exciting. I never know when that utopia will recur, but one of my interview techniques is designed to encourage it as often as possible.
I do not record my interviews, whether by phone, in person or otherwise. People have cautioned me not to skip recording, but I find I do not listen as well when I know the conversation is being recorded.
Another reason I prefer to listen intently and take copious notes rather than record a call is that my notes are more accurate that way. I pay rapt attention. And, if I’m lucky, the interviewee’s quotes and comments inform me how to use them in an article. When that happens, and it is rare, it is like being overtaken by a waterfall. My fingers become a conduit commanded to type the letters creating the words and punctuating the sentences of whatever I’m writing.
Is there something you do that brings you absolute joy? As for me, I will continue to be august about writing and the written word.