Behind “The Process”: Don’t Get Too Far ahead of Yourself!

Welcome to another lovely installment of Behind “The Process”, a blog that…

What? What makes it lovely?

Not people asking questions while I’m mid-sentence. Dang, yo. Anyway–a blog that takes a look at the writing process to simplify, demystify, and encourage-ify(?) people to sit down and write! Enjoy! Or don’t. Whatever.

Photos by Michael Burrows on

I’m in a position that’s a little too familiar. I’m beginning to accept that, perhaps, that’s just how I do it. I’m talking about my little way of writing by hand, THEN typing onto a computer.

Why Do I Write by Hand First?

Simply put, it’s the only way I can do it. I explain more about why I like writing by hand here. But if you’re not in a linkety-clickety mood:

When I write on the computer, I don’t see the action in my head. It’s more like I can only hear it. I don’t know if that makes any kind of sense, but I’m sticking with it, dammit.

And it’s also good for your brain.

What Do I Mean about Getting ahead of Yourself?

OK, so I write by hand most of the time. Sometimes not when I’m putting together a short blog. I know, some people think, I have to write 800+ words?!?, and start freaking out. The book I wrote (which is currently under review with a publisher (fingers crossed, people!)) is roughly 85-THOUSAND words, so…800 doesn’t seem like much. Just sayin–short stuff doesn’t require the same kind of imaginative concentration as writing a novel.

(Maybe yours doesn’t, oooooh!)

Bruh… Who let that guy in here?

Anyway, what I mean by not getting too far ahead of yourself is, well, exactly that. If you subscribe to the idea of first writing by hand on the first draft (like my boy Ernest Hemingway (granted he didn’t have laptops back then…)), then you know you’ll eventually have to take what you’ve handwritten and type it all out, so here’s the trick:

Don’t get more than 5-10 pages–depending on your typing skills–ahead on untyped, hand-written pages.

Why Don’t You Follow Your Own Advice?

I know, I know…

I’m a full legal pad behind. I have two or three pages that need typed on the last notebook, then I have a completely full notebook to type out. That won’t take an excessive amount of time, but (once again) I wish I had followed my 5-10 written pages ahead at a time rule. But I didn’t. I’m that special kind of a**hole who tells you what to do, but doesn’t do it himself.

Workin on it, folks. Workin on it.

Is There an Upside to Ignoring This Advice?



When you take on a large writing project, you keep notes about the characters and things like that handy early in the process. While you’re still getting to know the characters yourself. So the longer I get into that world and just write, the better I feel I know the story and its players. Also, the longer I let something sit after I’ve written it, the more I feel like I’m seeing it for the first time.

But I’d still enjoy the benefit of time by following my advice all the way through the first draft and coming back to it in the 2nd. Hmm…

Are You Still Trying to Convince Us Not to Get Too Far ahead?

Man, I don’t even know anymore. Honestly, do what works for you. I’m not trying to create a clone writing army. (Or am I?!?)

Oh boy…my head is starting to spin in that It’s-time-for-switchin-to-fiction kinda way!

That’s good. Sometimes you just need a warmup. Sorry if I’m making you feel like you’re just part of my warmup, but…the truth hurts.

Just messin around, you know I love you guys! OK, love is a strong word. Deep appreciate. Yeah, that works. I deeply appreciate you guys.

Let me know if any of this works for you. Or doesn’t work. Or if you wanna hear my BS on any other topics.

OK, I’m leaving now.


Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? High fiveFollow me:

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