I‘m not certain of when this little tick started, but I’ve noticed it repeatedly over the last several weeks (I’m doing it right now!). While I am writing, I find that I am whispering the words just under my breath. I’ve been doing this loudly enough that if someone were to stand close and listen, my whispers could be heard.
And it’s all writing, not just my fiction. I’ve found myself doing this while composing email messages, while chatting online with friends, and while writing blog posts.
It is possible that I’ve always done this and only now am noticing. But I don’t think that is the case. I think it is of fairly recent origins and I even have a guess of where it may come from.
If I concentrate, I can restrain it (I am restraining it now, finally!) but that concentration takes away from the writing. Interestingly, I am not reading what I am writing under my breath. It seems to me that I say the words a fraction of second before I type them. So I am actually dictating to myself. Which seems weird, but I guess is just a vocal manifestation of what all writers do when they tell stories.
I suspect audiobooks are the culprit. I’ve mentioned how I feel that listening to audio book have helped make me a better writer because I am more alert to the flow of the words, and that helps with the rhythm and pace of the story. I’ve been listening to audiobooks for almost a year and a half now, and I suspect that somewhere along the way, I picked up this tick as a way of better “hearing” that rhythm and continuity when I write. It doesn’t particularly bother me, but it is a bit jarring when I notice it. And when a scene is particularly exciting, the bare whisper steadily increases in volume. I’m waiting for the day when someone finally catches me doing this. That will be a joy.
One of the interesting side-effects of this little tick is that I tend to correct myself more before the words come out. I’ll whisper a phrase, and it won’t quite sound right to me, so I’ll change it around in my mind, whisper it again, and I’ll only type out what I think is the better one. It’s kind of like pre-reading the story aloud, and listening for those rhythms, and smoothing things out ahead of time.
It’s strange that I noticed it just recently, however, and I was curious if any other writers out there have experienced this. I imagine there are lots of writers who have always done this, but are there any out there who never noticed that they whispered their words before typing them, and then, at some point realized they were doing it?