Tuesday 12 May 2020

Latent Processing by Vanessa Harbour

Forgive me this is going to be a brief post. It’s been a struggle. I am feeling positively discombobulated. I am currently overwhelmed by marking but also last night’s ‘statement’ seemed to throw the world off-kilter as we know it. I am not going into the politics of it as this is not the place but it seems to have created a lot of confusion and upset today.

Feeling Discombobulated

The glorious author Kathryn Evans posed the question the other day ‘Is thinking part of writing?’
It made me stop and think (excuse the pun). I had literally just finished writing the first draft of a novel, so had been emersed in the process. It seemed an ideal time to consider her question.

I realised how much thinking I do when writing.  

When I am developing an idea, I make notes and I mull over the concept for quite a while before I start putting pen to narrative.

While I am in the process of writing, I am constantly thinking about it. Even when I am not writing. In the shower, doing the ironing, going for a walk. I will be contemplating the scenes I am currently writing or the chapter I am about to start. It is often during these moments that I will get inspiration for an exciting new element or it will be as simple as I will realise that if I add something into an earlier scene it’ll make the next chapter even more exciting or just make more sense.

Now I have finished that first draft, I am thinking again. Thinking about the areas I know I need to develop. I have set the manuscript aside while I finish the marking, but it is still there at the back of my mind. Niggling away.

Imogen Cooper always calls it latent processing. And it never stops.

So in answer to your question my dear friend Kathy, thinking is definitely part of writing. I agree.

Candy Gourlay, Kathy Evans and me! Happy Times
Do you all do lots of thinking too when writing?

Dr Vanessa Harbour


Kathryn Evans said...

It’s interesting too how much guilt surrounds thinking time - we do other things because we learn that doing nothing is lazy, but thinking isn’t nothing!

Ness Harbour said...

You are so right Kathy, thinking is definitely not nothing. We are not being lazy when we are thinking.

Penny Dolan said...

Agree, Vanessa and all.
Time and space for deep thinking is so, so important.
Commented one too-easily distracted person.)

Fran Benson said...

The thinking never stops :)
Even when I should be thinking about other things I'll find my mind wandering back to some issue or scene or character that needs a bit of work.
I agree though it's hard to make the time to just think.

Nick Garlick said...

Years and years ago, my brother once saw me sitting at my desk, staring at the wall as I mulled a story over. He suggested that as I was 'obviously doing nothing' we could go outside and fix the shed as our mum had asked.

Anonymous said...

Thinking/reflection integral to a life of any depth.concepts chasing in the mind x