There are times, listening to people talk about their lives -- while comfortably ensconced at my local coffee shop -- when Iím reduced to hypnologic hallucinations.
|Like debris on the beach, banal coffeshop banter is fodder for writers imagination.|
Braving the verbal flotsam of detail after detail, and the minutia of their minute-by-minute recollection of some minor occurrence, helps me jettison most of my stress and apprehension and causes my creativity to percolate.
Of course, I'm nodding politely, muttering appropriately sympathetic noises as required during their oral excretions. A single sentence or word, however, often triggers for me a conscious visual escape to a semi-reality, while I appear to retain contact with the person in front of me.
A developmental problem from childhood? Possibly. I believe it used to be called daydreaming. More than likely, though, it is an induced state of boredom upon which the opportunity for me to actually work sans pen is built.
These days the Internet offers just as much useless debris as my coffee shop. With billions of pages, 10 million blogs, hundreds of thousands of encyclopedic, dictionary and reference sites, surfing the web most days is the same as sitting in my coffee shop, the exception being volume.
Allowing your thoughts to wander when someone is talking to you is, yes, downright rude. But as writers we are afforded our eccentricities and use this very same quaint behaviour to entertain or educate others at a later point in time.
Good storytellers tell gripping tales and rivet their audience. To do that with writing the visualization process is key. The words used must be delivered in such a way as to create visual concepts in the minds of the audience.
To achieve attention-getting stories you must first be able to see the scenes yourself in the mind's eye. Then detail by detail, much like the flotsam of conversation in my coffee shop, the words have to be placed in a flowing, specific order to slowly, or quickly as the case may be, drag the reader along on the journey.
Sometimes the driving force of writing is getting directly involved in the banal offereings and creating an animated mental exercise, or inner debate, or intellectual wrestling over, say, the environment's impact on human births in connection with naturalistic lifestyle.
In order to effectively write an article on such a complex subject takes research and this is where the Internet far exceeds the levels of available knowledge that my coffee shop can possibly provide. Yet just because it's on the 'Net doesn't make it correct. Just the same as someone making a statement doesn't make the statement's knowledge true and so we must continue to research and fact check the initial point of the statement.
But how deep do we go? How many levels of fact checking are needed before you are comfortable signing your name to the bottom of the article? With a coffee shop, you're not going to be able to get all that deep, but with the Internet it's a Jules Verne adventure, the depths of which are unfathomable.
All I can say is that the Internet is beginning to cause me to hallucinate some wonderful stories -- great for my fledgling fiction-writing, but a real time-killer when it comes to freelance writing factual articles.
Give yourself a break. Use the experts. Take the time to hunt down the best of the best in the field of study you will be writing about and use the Internet to get to those experts and their sites. A general search using keywords such as: environmental impact, human births, naturalism, and balance of nature are going to provide you with hundreds of thousands of pages of information; mostly garbage.
Who's got the time to sift through it all? Refining searches, using advanced exact search options, finding the recognized experts in their field(s) of interest and then accumulating the raw data for your article will save you a lot of time and effort.
Otherwise, you might just as well be sitting in my coffee shop and hallucinating fictional characters and stories right along with me while we semi-listen to others verbally projecting their own hallucinations on us.
Mark London is a Toronto based freelance writer and associate editor of IN who has been with the FWO-Int'l from the early years volunteering much of his time in assisting young writers' careers. email : firstname.lastname@example.org