Veronique Darwin

writing with my mouth open

In Language, Thoughts on Writing on December 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I whisper as I write. I listen to the words and the relationships between the words and I make sure my sentences sound complete. I end a paragraph when it sounds like I should end a paragraph. I write conclusions that sound like conclusions. The sentences create a rhythm, the words a beat. The writing continues because my mouth is still open. I backspace if something sounds wrong. I punctuate with my lips.

When I write, my ideas fall into order on the page. My voice is useless to me – a backdrop – a reassurance that what I’m saying exists off screen. If someone were to listen to me as I write, what would they hear? A soft hissing. A bad sentence, then a new one. A mouth hanging open, unconscious of anything but the typeface in front of it.

My mouth, it appears, is related to my words, yet so useless to me when I use it alone. I often wish I could write instead of speaking. My words fall on to the page in order, like a piece of music. When I speak I always lose the point. I wish I knew how to write music – instead of mumbling, I would sing as I write.




  1. In a way, doing that must be helpful. I’ve often heard reading your work aloud helps find problems with the prose.

  2. I whisper as I write to. My friends laugh at me and call me a mumbler. I have found that I can write a story better when I am telling it like a story. I speak it first. It’s good to know I’m not the only one.

  3. I sometimes whisper when I write, especially dialogue. I also find myself hammering the keys hard during scenes of high emotion, and have also been known to find myself in a bad mood, even angry, when one of my characters finds themselves being treated unfairly.

  4. I’m with you. Being able to write what I think would be much preferable to having to speak it. 🙂

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