SINGULARITY IN WRITING

One of the things that fascinates me about the act of writing is how every time I tap at the keyboard I create something that is entirely unique than if I had written it the day before. Let me explain:

When I sit to write I have an idea of what I want to say, what will happen, but the words I use to describe a scene I make up as I go along. The very sentence I just wrote and the one I’m writing now I am piecing together as I feel necessary, like laying tracks in front of the moving toy-train that is the point I’m trying to make. The particular string of words is unformed until the moment I write them. This means that if I was to write a scene today, or delay until tomorrow, the two pieces of writing would be entirely different. Maybe the core of the pieces would mirror one another, but the exact landscape of the words would be unique. The examples I use, the similes, the dialogue, and the descriptions would all depend on the mood I was in while writing, the things I had seen recently that were still fresh in that outermost layer of my consciousness, ready to be taken and applied where appropriate.

Maybe on Day A I saw a client with a tabby cat that lounged at his feet, overweight and unperturbed by the prodding of my client’s toes under the table. Maybe I wasn’t even focused on the cat during the visit, but a small part of my mind noticed and found it amusing, and filed it away. Then when I sat to write later that day, and I want to make the backdrop of a scene more interesting, I add a tabby cat, overweight and lazy.

But say instead I delayed to write the same scene until Day B, but by this point the cat has been forgotten. So to give interest to the environment I include some detail about horrid wallpaper, taken from a memory of wallpaper that used to coat my own bedroom.

Both scenes are painted differently, giving a different flavour depending on what came to mind in the moment of writing. The outset was shared, but simply by where my consciousness was at that point in time, two individual pieces would be created.

I love this principle. I love that no matter what I’m writing it is singular to that day and that environment and that frame of mind. Even the words I just wrote, the use of the word “singular” – perhaps tomorrow if I sat to write this piece the word singular would never appear in my head. The example of the cat may never have occurred to me. Maybe I never would have worked the piece around to detailing an example, instead I could have gotten lost on some tangent, changing the point of the piece altogether.

Why do I love it? Because it means there’s no right way to write a piece. There is no ideal phrasing or perfect sentence; it’s just whatever happens to happen that day. Each patchwork of words is a representation of the specific date and time, and the more diverse because of it.

It also means that the options for creating unique pieces of writing are limitless. Every time I crack open my laptop I am a different person with a different set of thoughts, making each act of creativity a new one.

But what I love most about this theory is that it can be applied to more than just writing. Living each day can be, and is, done in the same fashion. Think about the correlations. Each time you wake you are writing the story of that day. The thoughts you have and the things you say are entirely different from the day before. Now, maybe you’re thinking that your days are repetitive. That each day is not unique. You are wrong.

Even if you leave the house at the same time, arrive at the office at the same time, and head home at the same time, every moment in between is that moment, completely new and original than any other moment in your life. And by realising this you have the ability to write your day any way you like.

You can add excitement to dialogue by saying the joke that comes to mind that your normally keep to yourself. The moment is new; try the joke and see what happens.

You can add new characters by deciding at the start of the day to engage in conversation with that work colleague you don’t really know and have hardly spoken to before. Talk to them, and see where the scene goes.

You can add a tangent in your day by not getting home and falling into the same routine. Go for a walk. Go to the movies. Phone someone you haven’t seen in years. Go swimming. Do anything: the moment is unique, and yours to make of it what you will. There is no wrong way to write it.

And in the same way a writer would write a scene to add excitement, and tension, creative descriptions and intriguing characters, you can write your day in the same way. Don’t just settle for a drab and repetitive diary entry, write your day as if it were a short story you couldn’t put down, filled with plot twists and humour, adventure and reflection.

Each day is a new one, a new collection of words to string together, and an opportunity to write something perfectly singular.

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