The Rhythm Of Writing

A tool is only as good as its user.
Darkening Halawa Valley by Kristina D.C. Hoeppner

Darkening Halawa Valley by Kristina D.C. Hoeppner

There is a rhythm to writing that only the writer can hear. I don’t know if I would describe it as the sound my fingers make when they tap away at the keys on the keyboard or if I would say it is the words I hear in my head.

Ask me to describe it and I’ll try to tell you about the sound of rainfall upon the rooftops as well as the sound of the rain in a forest.

Sometimes it reminds me of the sound I hear on the heavy bag when I stop throwing combinations and just start pounding the bag with all I have got for as long as I can.

What I am certain of is I do my best work when I find my rhythm and it doesn’t always answer my call. Not unlike my children it sometimes waits a while before it chooses to respond.


Sometimes it ignores my requests completely so it forces me to play hide-and-seek. Those are usually the moments when I am tired and mentally fatigued, the times when 198 ounces of coffee don’t provide the jolt that moves the mind in the ways I want so I have to search for a different tool.

Push-ups, curls, running in place or anything that gets the blood pumping usually helps to make the gears turn and the juices flow.

That and the confidence in my ability and the understanding that years of practice have led to muscle memory that I can call upon.

Just write.

Just tap one key at a time until you make a word, hit the space bar and then do it again until you have created a sentence. Rinse and repeat a few more times and you find you have a post, a tweet, a status update or an article.

How do the great authors write?

One word at a time is what my high school English teachers said but I am not sure that I believe it. That is because when I find my rhythm the words come to me in buckets.

Sometimes they flow like great flash floods and I fight to make my fingers keep up with the flow coming from inside my head.

This Is Why I Blog

This is part of why I blog. It is like oil for the the great writing machine locked up between my ears. It is one of the ways I make the wheels turn and just one more tool I use to find my rhythm.

You don’t have to be able to hear it. You don’t need to know what music moved me to make these words run down the page in a way that was entertaining and informative.

You just need to be able to read them and feel like you need to keep reading because you don’t want to miss one because you fear to miss the message.

Sometimes I worry about the words I write because I wonder if they will meet the mark I have set for them but I worry more about not putting them down because you miss every shot you don’t take.

Better to swing and miss than not miss at all.

Better to dance a few steps and than none at all.

You can’t find your rhythm unless you try to.

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  1. Lewis LaLanne - NoteTakingNerd November 14, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Man, I miss the heavy bag. Call me crazy but I love the rock solid hip height part of it just as much as the well-worn shoulder height part of it.

    Shotgun Jab, straight right, left hook to the body, left hook to the head. One of my favorite rhythms of all rhythms.

    I love when my mind finally clicks and smoothly moves forward, stalking Julio Cesar Chavez-esque, consistently finding the right combination of keys to punch which all culminate in knocking out yet another complete communication.

    I never really give much thought to how this happens. I’ve just grown to trust that it will if I keep my ass in the ring and fingers in the gloves that are my keyboard.

    Thank you Joshua for sharing your perspective on the rhythm of writing as I enjoyed devouring it. I’m very happy that I followed Tim Bonner’s advice to come check you out here. 🙂

    • Josh November 14, 2014 at 11:21 pm

      @MyNoteTakingNerd:disqus Chavez was a hell of a fighter, over stayed his welcome like many do but he could fight.
      Always nice to find someone else who appreciates the sweet science. Glad you came by, hope you visit again.

      • Lewis LaLanne - NoteTakingNerd November 15, 2014 at 8:42 am

        I know what you’re talking about over staying his welcome. I finally got his autograph when I was in L.A. to see the last leg of his “Adios” tour where he had too tough of a time beating Ivan Robinson at the Staples Center.

        I and a friend were staying in the same hotel as him, and while I worked, he stalked the lobby waiting for the chance to get him to sign our programs and t-shirts. And the stalking yielded positive results. 🙂

        At that time I was living in Phoenix and had an in with the guy who ran the gym there where the majority of pro fighters train when they’re in town and I actually got to watch Chavez spar in preparation for that fight there as well but it was on a day when a ton of people had been invited and I wasn’t gonna sit forever and wait to try to get his autograph when he finished.

        That same gym is where I watched Mike Tyson getting worked out by Jeff Fenech. Again, this was a day when quite a few people were invited and so I wasn’t hanging around to get Mike’s autograph.

        What was a mix or awesome and let down is another time when Mike was getting ready for a fight there in Phoenix at the time when Freddy Roach was training him. The guy running the gym invited my friend and I to come watch their training session. The two of us. No one else.

        To say we were excited was an understatement.

        So we show up early, of course, and we find that Freddy is there but no Mike. But we were lucky in that Freddy was than open to kick back and talk with us. This was pre-Manny Pacquiao so the conversation with him revolved a lot around Virgil Hill and James Toney stories.

        30 minutes after he was supposed to show up, still no Mike. (These were right around the times he got arrested for cocaine possession there in Phoenix, so yeahhh)

        We ended up spending about an hour kicking it with the soon to be hall of fame trainer before he finally said, “Fuck this.” and rolled his shit up and left.

        Freddy was awesome to chill with. Same dude back then that you see in the 24/7 series today. So I’ll always be grateful for that, but feel a little wistful about missing out on talking to Mike Tyson up close while he got his hands wrapped and while resting between rounds and maybe even after the workout.

        But hey, I trust someday I’ll get to chill in an intimate setting with him which I’d still very much love to do as I’m grown to love him even more after he overstayed his welcome.

        I love boxing, but I haven’t been as fanatical watching/reading about it as I once was but of course I made time last Saturday to watch one of my favorite fighters of this era.

        I wonder if this last fight life telling him he’s on the edge of overstaying his welcome. . . or if his opponent just fought a very, very, very smart fight and bested him mentally with his strategy, which by the way was brilliant – especially being that Kovalev had never fought in the later rounds before.

        Only time will tell, but I think Bernard is smart enough to know the difference and will get out before it’s too late.

        I also love connecting with people who appreciate the sweet science and it’s always a nice added bonus when they appreciate the science of writing interesting prose as well.

        I’ll see you again soon.

        • Josh November 16, 2014 at 5:59 pm

          Hopkins, man that was hard to watch. It is never fun to see our heroes deteriorate. Cool story about Freddy Roach, that would have been a fun conversation indeed.

  2. Kaarina Dillabough November 14, 2014 at 5:32 am

    One of my favourite posts of yours of all time! Cheers! Kaarina

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