Where Deb Amy Writes. Be Afraid. Be Very, Very, Afraid.

It’s a big deal to be a Deb, and here I am, confessing right out of the gate. Well, that’s the point, right? To share the scoop, offer insights, challenge some conventional notions perhaps, and all the while, keep dancing.  What does that mean to me? It means I tell you where most of my early writing REALLY gets done.

I have desks, sofas, chairs, beds, a patio, and a dining room table, where I’m sitting now.  All of these are perfectly wonderful places for writing, wouldn’t you agree? But my early writing — before the editing and revising and rethinking — all gets done in one place.

Inside my head.

Frightening, I know. The magic of storytelling makes my head a very noisy place to be, which is why I prefer quiet when I’m working.  I view the computer, or a piece of paper, as simply the place I store my words in order to make room for more inside.  Quips and (hopefully) eloquent phrases, all form off the page and getting them down is so that I don’t forget — and later share.

Everything changes when I’m editing or revising, that’s a meticulous process that requires a desk and ergonomic chair.  But the early writing part is not neat, and it’s not quiet, it’s a raucous affair and it all happens within the confines of my brain.  I say things aloud — how can I not? People talk out loud and I have to hear the inflection in a character’s voice.  The sentences come fully formed, often when I’m driving or in the shower or in the most inconvenient spot to make note of them.  But I do, because if I don’t, I’ll spend all my time and energy repeating it — blocking the flow like a dam holds back a river.  And you know what happens when you open a dam.

Surely there are times that I hunker down on the couch of choice, with a blanket, coasters, beverages, and pens without something specific in mind.  But when the words do come, I’m often thinking first and typing later.  Only in the midst of the depths of a scene do I close my eyes and just type because it’s bigger than me, and I’m not really in charge. And yes, these are the kinds of revelations that alarm my non-writing friends, but to other writers, it seems normal — either some of it or all of it.

Scary, but true.

Dare to share! How much of your writing gets done inside your head?

24 Replies to “Where Deb Amy Writes. Be Afraid. Be Very, Very, Afraid.”

  1. Ha! I say things aloud when I’m writing–or thinking ahead about what I’m going to write–too! This is why I like to be alone during the process. I get fewer strange looks that way.

    Oh, and grease pencils are handy for the shower. Just sayin’. 😉

    P.S. It’s so weird to come here on a Friday and not see me. *grin* But I can relax now, because I see the Friday slot is being admirably filled. 🙂

    1. Using a grease pencil is brilliant. I just discovered these great bath crayons from crayola (okay, my son discovered them, whatevs) which are perfect for shower ideas too!

  2. Oh, thank you, Linda! It’s a nervous thing – that very first Deb Ball post. But I am getting used to typing with a tiara. 🙂 (Totally going to try the grease pencil too)


  3. Hi Deb Amy! Nice to meet you! I do all of my organizational writing in my head! Especially after a night sweat/hot flash that results in insomnia! Looking forward to getting to know you!

  4. Yes I agree with Linda I opened up this morning looking for you Linda (forgot what can I say).

    Welcome Amy, I am looking forward to reading your posts on Friday’s. What is the name of your book and when is your launch.

    Have a good weekend.

    The honorary Deb M

    1. Honorary Deb M! There must be a story with that – do tell! My book is called The Glass Wives and it’ll be out in May! Thanks for the warm welcome, even if you were looking for Linda! 😉

  5. I totally agree with you Amy! Most of my book was written inside my head. At football games. At work. On the toilet. Which is why my first draft is written on the back of receipts, ripped pieces of paper, and, you guessed it, toilet paper!

  6. Hi Amy! I’m so glad you made it to be a Deb! Our paths have criss-crossed over the years, so it’s fitting to see you here now. Wishing you all the very best as your journey unfolds.

    I do a ton of pre-writing in my head. Especially in bed when I should be sleeping. The subconscious that refuses to wait for appropriate times seems to be a common trait of many, if not all writers I’ve spoken to (and some that I’ve made up).

  7. I laughed out loud at your mention of needing to hear the voice inflection. I do the same thing. I’m very visual, and I am also a TV addict, so my scenes come to me not as words but like I’m watching them on TV. I’ll play director and play them over and over till the dialog is right, the body language is right, till a certain look that can speak volumes visually in seconds is fine tuned so that I can describe it in words. And of course I say all of this out loud. I play all parts. LOL. I am famous for this both at work (they’ve become used to me talking to myself) and in the car. Especially in the car. If you see me talking or gesturing…I’m not jamming to a song. I’m acting. 🙂

    Great post, Amy, and congrats on being a Deb!

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one, Sharla. It’s the reason I can’t write in coffee shops — in addition to the fact that no one keeps quiet (the nerve!!). 🙂

  8. Lots of things get done inside my head, but I’m afraid in order to actually accomplish any of them in real life, I need to write them down. And, given one of the notes I’ve been trying to puzzle out this morning, I really should write them down WITH CONTEXT. Random nouns don’t help.

    So happy to see you on the Ball – here’s to a wonderful year for all of you!

    1. Thank you for the welcome, Eleanor! It’s very exciting to be a Deb, as you know.

      I’m with you on writing things down with context. Somehow the word “fish” or “box” or even “fix that paragraph” just doesn’t have the same meaning when the original idea has, let’s say, left the building!

  9. Great post Amy! You put a great cap on our debut week!

    I totally understand the inspiration striking at odd moments and needing to write it down. I talk to myself a lot too … So much that I sometimes think I look a little crazy. But when the idea hits, you have to capture it so it doesn’t get away!!!

  10. So excited you’re the new Deb, Amy! I write in my head, too. I’m glad that I must be normal in that respect, at least in the writing world. The only time it’s bad is when my daughter is calling my name and I have to climb up out of a completely different world. She just rolls her eyes when I give her that spacey look.

    1. Hi Tina! Thank you for stopping by on my inaugural Friday as a Deb! I think that my “spacey” look is my normal look. Now I need to determine if that is a problem!! xo

  11. I totally write in my head — especially dialogue. Which I guess, taken to the limit, could sound as if I hear voices and conversations in my head…which I guess I do. Yikes? 😉

  12. I love this, Amy. I recently told my husband that I’m never bored or lonely because I always have these conversations going on in my head. Only another writer can understand. 🙂

  13. I’m fascinated by the writing style of other writers. Sadly, most of my best writing gets done by my fingers with absolutely no input from my head at all. After the idea is down on the page sometimes it catches on. “Oh, I guess I can see that,” and will get busy expanding a theme of a plot point. I do also have those total Eureka moments in the shower that would benefit from a grease pencil. Instead, I come charging out, wrapped in towels and dripping wet, looking for the nearest writing surface.

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