Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The accidental writing exercise

Somehow, I have become secretary to five different organizations. I was either elected or found my hand going up as a volunteer.

I don't mind, really. If I have to be there anyway, I can concentrate better if I take notes. And, it takes me back to my newspaper days when I recorded everything I heard for publication. I was at a commissioners' meeting last week gathering background for a scene I'm writing, and found myself taking notes as if I were being paid for it.

I think being secretary helps my writing skills. I have to listen and observe. I have to write quickly, and check my facts afterward if I didn't hear something clearly, or didn't understand it.

Then I have to go back through my notes and organize them for clarity and continuity. Meetings don't always go according to a neat schedule. Something is said, something else is said, another point is brought up, the subject gets changed and then it circles around to the first subject again. Sometimes it is more important to record what was said than to record in what order it was said.

It's the same way in fiction. If authors wrote conversations the way conversations actually happen, with all the interruptions and interjections, the reader would soon be confused as to who was saying what. Actually, there have been times when I've been reading a novel and had to stop and go back to the beginning of the conversation and mentally add the "He said ... She said..." If those authors had ever been a recording secretary, they would have been more careful.

 So I count taking minutes as part of my writing time -- a four or five times a month writing exercise.

It's a win-win situation.


  1. You rock, Sandy. Not only because you're willing to help out, but because you put a positive spin on the work

  2. And we thank you for doing it, Sandy!