Do I Use the Cut-Up Technique?

by Chris McGinty of

I sometimes think that I spend
too much time in idea creation mode. I wrote about the discrepancy that exists
between living your life and writing. I believe that that has been part of my
creative process as much as everything else that I do to generate thoughts and

I also wrote about the rabbit hole that got me to read about the cut up technique. The only thing that
somewhat bothered me about that reading was that there seemed to be a very
open-ended idea of how the cut-up technique is used.
I feel that we all experience
disparate ideas each day, even if they’re not obvious. Do we really have to
then turn around and choose two random words from a generator and try to find
connections that may not have existed before? Do we then have to spend an hour
sprinkling these thoughts around the various notes files that we have in order
to find new connections, or leave them there for later examination?
I think the answer is yes.
Somewhere in all of this mess we
do have to write, or all of the idea creation is pointless. But I spend a lot
of time looking deeper into the work that I’m doing in order to bring about the
less obvious thoughts.
I’ve said that if you were to
take all of the writing I’ve ever done and create volumes of 250 pages each,
there would be well over 40 books. Much of it would be incomplete. Much of it
would make no sense to anyone other than me because of how I process my ideas.
Most of it would suck. My problem is that I only have about four books worth of
things worth printing. If you were to go through my notebooks from years ago,
you would see lots of things that would make you wonder what I was doing,
because the notes would probably not make sense.
I spend so much time moving
thoughts around that by the time they become something worth reading; even I
might have trouble working out how I got there. Unfortunately, a lot of my good
work comes from these messes.
I gave an example of how I wrote
a poem once. I showed how a combination of many creative and uncreative events
and thoughts formed this one short piece of work. The funny thing is that the
poem probably only took about an hour to write, but only because of all the
preparation that preceded it.
I think that the only thing I
would change about my methods – and what I’m working on changing – is the
frequency of which I complete projects. If I have any advice for writers it’s
simply this: complete your projects unless you have fully decided to scrap a
project. It may not be a bad idea early on to just complete everything to form
the habit of completing projects.
Chris McGinty is a blogger who
writes a lot. That’s all. He writes a lot.

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