Before middle school, I didn’t think in words. I know, I’m a writer, how can I not think in words? But so it was. I thought in pictures, emotions, abstract thought — basically anything that wasn’t a word.
But in middle school, I began to notice how book characters’ thoughts were written. For example, “Wouldn’t it be cool if a train of thought was steam-powered, she thought.” This type of structure made me believe that other people thought in words, and that there was something wrong with me because I didn’t.
So what did my impressionable young self do? Trained myself to think in words.
In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t done that. I feel like I’ve limited myself for no good reason. Lately I’ve been trying to encourage my old thinking process, to hopefully reach a more balanced stream of consciousness. But I have no idea what effect that would have on something like my writing. So I guess we’ll see how it goes.
Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.