word vomit

It’s as ugly as it sounds.

A blank page is suddenly covered with words that probably go together but don’t necessarily make a lot of sense. Notes might be mixed together with description and dialogue. After word vomit (sometimes sprints, sometimes not) sessions, I tend to end up with pages of white space randomly punctuated by words in brackets ([], my way of adding notes) and bullet points.

July, as a Camp NaNoWriMo month, is my word vomit month. Because I’m trying to get words into a first draft. They don’t have to be good words. They’re generally crappy words. But they’re words. They’re mine.

Through word vomit I get a better sense of my world, my characters, the events that force my characters to move forward and create waves of their own. I try different POVs, different verb tenses, sometimes even different approaches for the same scene if it’s a pivotal one.

It’s okay to have a terrible first draft. I’d argue it’s expected. (If you write good first drafts, you’re a sparkly unicorn and I admire the hell out of you.)

So whether you are a pantser or a plotter, if you’ve hit a wall and can’t seem to write anything, why not try vomiting words? As terrible an analogy as that is, sometimes you need to purge the “bad stuff” from your system–in my case, it’s paralyzing self-doubt more often than not–before the better words start to flow.

Some of my best writing sessions come after I’ve given myself a chance to word vomit.


4 thoughts on “word vomit

  1. Hi,
    Go for it! Word Vomit sounds great. I’ve never heard of it expressed that way. I believe every first draft of mine is terrible because I am getting the words out on the table. So keep going and happy vomiting.
    Shalom aleichem,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Actually, you made a dynamite point in using the term “word vomit.” The term describes probably exactly as I write… just putting it out there as I can’t keep it in any longer. But then what? I’ll work at keep your term in mind so hopefully I can clean up my act! 😉 Thanks! You made some excellent points!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it’s a good idea because it’s usually not till the rewrite that we do clarifications, beautifications and generally put things in order and tidy our words up. There have been far too many times I’ve allowed myself to stare at a blank page, even when I should have been doing as you suggest, vomiting all over my computer screen. Certainly, some of my writing makes me want to do that literally. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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