My Writing Practice

I write a lot. My output appears in several forms. I’ve published four books in recent years, supplementing several earlier books on technical subjects written during my professional life. I’ve written numerous articles. I write a monthly book review. And I am now engaged in a regular practice of posting to this and other blogs.

What I Write

The subjects of my writing reflect my varied interests. Currently, I’m working on a sequel to my murder mystery, The Hero of Gucci Gulch. I’ve written two books on photography and I’ve got several more in various stages of completion. I’ve written a book, articles, and book reviews on woodworking topics. I’ve written about model railroading. And I’ve written a series of articles about fountain pens.

Further back in my career as a civil servant, I wrote on such technical subjects as rural community and economic development, public policy, planning, computer science, and psychology.  I’ve lost count of the number of publications I’ve authored, but I know it totals well over 150 items spanning more than four decades.

Why I Write

During my professional career, my writing was prompted by functional motivations. I had information to impart on the subjects of my work and I wrote to make it available to the public.

My motivation now derives from a different place. I have developed over my life a strong need to express myself by the written word. Writing comes naturally to me.  I find it easy to face a blank page and let the words pour out. But more than the ease with which it comes, my writing responds to a deep inner need to create. I can’t not right. This is not something I can easily explain. I simply have an inner urge to let the words flow.

How I Write

Like many writers, I sometimes compose directly on my laptop. This is true especially for short documents of a technical nature. But for the most part, and particularly when seeking to be creative, I follow a different procedure. I first outline the principal points I wish to explore in the approximate sequence in which I will address them. This helps greatly to let me express myself clearly and logically. Then, using one of my fountain pens, I write out a draft in full. I find that by writing in this way, I think more clearly; my thoughts are better expressed for taking the more deliberate approach handwriting brings to the process. Then I dictate the text into a Word document, after which I edit, edit, and edit again.  That’s how I’m writing this blog entry and how I approach all of my creative expression.

In future postings I plan to discuss my writing methods more deeply. I’ll go into how I approach writing fiction, how that differs from my nonfiction writing, and how I organize book reviews. And, I’ll talk about some of the projects I’ve got underway and both the potential and problems I’m encountering with each of them.

Published by Norman Reid

I worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for 27 years in the field of rural community and economic development. I retired a few years ago and have been devoting my time to photography and writing. I've been a semi-pro photographer for more than 25 years and sell my work on the Web. I live in rural Virginia not far from the Shenandoah Valley.

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