Create Your Own Scroll: Writing Wednesday

Kerouac wrote On the Road on one long, continuous scroll of paper. He plugged away on a typewriter and chugged that bad boy out in about three weeks. It’s time we did the same, word-writing friends.

Okay. I know. We don’t work on typewriters anymore (except for you in the back).

And…I know it’s unlike that any of us will finish a masterpiece in three weeks (except for maybe you in the back).


With the advanced technology that is a computer screen and many different writing software programs, we have the benefit of a scroll right now. Open up a new word document, or a Scrivener project (Scrivener’s fun cuz you can blank out the back screen and basically have a virtual scroll), or whatever word processing software you use.

Start writing. Just go. Pretend you hear the clitter clatter of little keyboardy keys.

Then cut and paste whatever comes out into your blog and link to it in the comments section so we can see your Beat Genius moment.

Remember: “You’re a genius all the time.” ~Kerouac

Jack Kerouac Writing Writing Wednesday

jenny maloney View All →

Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.

1 Comment Leave a comment

  1. Jack was right. If we are writing or doing other creative pursuits such as theater (that’s for you in the front) we are geniuses who are opening our brains and actually using them. Unlike the majority of Americans who want to talk about clever TV commercials.

    I think that doing an experiment in which you literally write until the paper ends is a cool thing. The come down from all the speed is a drag, but otherwise it is pretty productive. Everyone should choose their own favored method for this. So maybe fill up an 80 page notebook longhand, do a computer thing, some of the cheaper tablets actually have a typewriter sound when you are using them which is fun and at least gives you the idea. Plus you can’t see anything while you’re typing on a tablet, so that adds a little mystery.

    However, in case a person would like to use a real typewriter, it is not all that hard to find one. There is something about typing on a manual typewriter that makes me feel more creative. Watching the pages of your first draft pile up is really satisfying! When you say, “Hey I knocked out 20 pages today!” You can literally wave them around. Pretty cool, right?

    But, I will be honest and say that I also enjoy working on and repairing typewriters. It’s a machine, like a car, and it does need a little kindness now and then. Once you’ve cleaned up your typewriter, it will probably need a new ribbon, oiling and adjusting. But, once that’s over with, you have a reliable writing machine that never needs to be plugged in, or updated, and it never loses a whole file on you by accident (we’ve all been there)

    All I’m saying is that if you want to replicate the Kerouac experience, you can get pretty close. Just remember, it’s not quiet so that means you better live alone or type somewhere else like the garage at 2 a.m. It also blew up Jack’s leg veins really bad. I believe that Hunter S. Thompson was known to use a similarly furious and drug-fueled approach to writing. On this topic of blasting out written work, a name that comes to mind is Earl Stanley Gardner of Perry Mason fame. Gardner had multiple pseudonyms and also wrote for the pulps. So he was turning out an amazing amount of work per week! So he wasn’t just going full out for a couple of weeks, it was an all the time thing. Whatever works! Scale your Mt. Everest of writing!

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