Writing at Breakneck Speeds

white notebook and pen

As a child and later as a teen, I adored writing my words in spiral notebooks. I was also rather fond of composition books. Over the years, I’ve collected many notebooks. While I do know how to write fairly adequate cursive, my brain often operates at breakneck speeds, especially when it comes to writing. So, my handwriting over the years devolved into chicken scratch, out of necessity to keep up with my rambling thoughts. 

Even with downgrading my penmanship in order to keep up with my brain, handwriting got to the point that my hands couldn’t keep up with the bullet train in my head. When I decided to turn to word processors around fifth grade, my writing began to truly take off. Finally, my thoughts started evacuating my cranium at the breakneck speeds at which I was thinking them.

Still, even into my junior high years, I’d still occasionally handwrite in journals and notebooks. At one point, though, I decided that my thoughts were much too private to keep in trapper keepers and other easily accessed mediums. I began to tear out the pages and put as much of the content I thought was at least semi-sane into my digital journals. I then used my mom’s shredder to destroy the handwritten copies. 

I still have many of my old journal entries today in digital form, although many have been lost to time or sheer laziness of not typing them up. I don’t think I lost anything of great importance, though. The transition to digital, however, was not complete for my writing. Around 2001 or 2002, I decided to limit my writing to college ruled paper. That’s when I first became a poet.

The words often came so quickly to me that I didn’t bother to even follow any rhythm, flow, or meter. Sometimes, the words would rhyme, but it seems that the rhyme schemes were often accidental and rarely by design. Many of the more badly written poems became the basis for essays over time. Some of these essays have transformed over the years into published articles that you could read online today or are yet to appear in my digital archives. 

I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that my writing process is influenced by the speed of my thoughts, making it challenging to keep up with handwriting. It doesn’t help that I have nerve problems left over from chemotherapy, either. There are days where even typing is difficult, and I’m fortunate that speech-to-text tools have progressed so far in recent years, even to the point of cleaning up my often rambling nonsense into something readable!

My Frustrations with Creative Writing VS Nonfiction

Some people told me I needed to do something with my writing. Most people wanted me to focus on my long-form creative writing, such as my novellas and novels. But, I’ve often become frustrated with having to write and rewrite sections over and over again as I change my mind about character development or plot points. 

I’m no good at short stories, as it seems my brain simply doesn’t allow me to condense my storytelling into anything under 20,000 words. That is, unless I want something that’s an absolute mess that no one can follow! That’s why I stick to purely novellas and novels. Even long-form nonfiction books are a struggle for me unless they are to become massive tomes!

So, frustrations arise when it comes to creative writing versus nonfiction because I struggle with condensing my storytelling. I tend to think cinematically in terms of epic dramas. My brain gets wrapped up in so many character studies, subplots, and so much intrigue that I lose the story somewhere along the way. Then, I just get overwhelmed and ditch the project, only to start another one, repeating the process.

There’s nothing wrong with having a brain that functions at breakneck speeds if you know how to operate the various release valves. My autism often forces me into certain thought cycles until I act on those thoughts. But, then, my own hyperactive mind gets in the way and distracts me from my train of thought, causing me to drift and wander around. 

Then, thanks to my twitchy Tourette’s troubles, I have trouble ever shutting my mouth unless I’m hyper-focused on something. This is why I on the daily will oscillate between intense brainstorming session or getting myself super wrapped up in a video game.

Why I Write Almost Exclusively, While Only Dabbling in Other Art Forms

Writing is my best release. I’ve tried doodling, and while the results aren’t horrible, they aren’t anything worth publishing on a commercial scale. A few years back, I tried my hand at comics. While I’m fine at laying them out, I simply don’t draw well enough to make them very visually interesting. I can’t draw backgrounds to save my life. My characters are usually drawn in profile and are very two-dimensional looking. 

My writing, on the other hand, can take on as many dimensions as I allow it to. This is why I’ve now turned to photography, photo editing, and more abstract forms of art to express what my words are having difficulty projecting. It’s good to have multiple creative outlets when one faucet doesn’t have the right flow or water pressure.

I’m sure that my thoughts won’t slow down anytime soon. As much as I’d love to return to handwriting more than typing or using speech-to-text software with my writing, I simply can’t get my hands to keep up with the barreling freight train of verbiage constantly trying to crash into the page. I really love practicing my cursive and it gives me something to relax to. But, when the words come too fast, it just gets frustrating. 

I’ve come to acknowledge my fast-paced thinking, though. So, when writing isn’t coming together for me, I explore alternative creative outlets like photography and abstract art. AI art, in particular, has become an interesting way for me to explore ideas that are better expressed through more visual media. Writing is my preferred creative outlet, as it allows for multi-dimensional expression compared to other art forms I’ve attempted. But, it’s important for me to still explore other artistic mediums, to develop ideas that may have turned stagnant in my writing thus far.

Perhaps, handwriting in journals and notebooks is not only a way to rededicate myself to writing, but I may even rediscover my joy for poetry. Yes, poems still come to me from time to time; but they don’t come to me as they once did during my high school and college days. I have a lot on my mind all the time, so not having to stare at a blue light screen or monitor just to get down a few random thoughts is a good idea. 

I finally decided it was time to get a lot more organized with my writing, after spending the better part of the last ten years neglecting proper organization. This happened for the sake of trying to make money that was barely ever enough to live on, anyway. Now, my writing is my life, for both practical and personal. So, I need to emphasize prioritizing and creating a more organized approach to my craft. It’s an ongoing process, but one that’s well worth doing.

Whatever your outlet, when the thoughts and ideas come at breakneck speeds, don’t hold them back. Let them free. You’ll be so glad that you did.

~ Amelia Desertsong

Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy.
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