Write This, Not That

Julie Nyhus MSN, FNP-BC
4 min readMay 5, 2020

Part 5 of 5: Tips for taking your fiction to the next level.

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Part 5: A Matter of Time

“Gee, Joolz, what are we gonna do tonight?”

“The same thing we do every night, Writer. Try to take over the writing world.”

Our senses tell us that time flows . . . passing from the right here and right now into the undecided future, every moment ends up in the same fixed past.

The perception of time is one of — if not the most — basic of human perceptions. We tend to think the concept of time can be proven by things like clocks or age spots.

We ‘experience’ ourselves living from one moment to the next.

Yet, the deep (and devastating) truth is that nothing in known physics corresponds to the passage of time.

It’s true.

Neither scientists nor philosophers understand what time is or why it exists . . . or appears to exist.

But don’t panic! It’s probably just that scientists haven’t discovered the key quality that gives time its sense of timeliness.

Yup, we’ll go with that one.

Time is legit. Don’t panic.

Scientists just haven’t figured out the science behind it yet.

So what does the non-existence of time have to do with writing? I thought you’d never ask.

No Time Like The Present

Even though time has definite intangible qualities, for readers reality is associated with the present moment.

So, how do we write about something — that may or may not have happened right now — in the past or present or future tense that someone in the future will read in their right ‘now’?

Did you follow that?

The trick is to stop thinking of time as linear.

As humans, we divide daily life into the past, the present, and the future.

And our grammatical structure revolves around this distinction like the moon floating faithfully around the earth.

As writers we focus too much sometimes on forcing the flow of this thing called time by using every time-related word we…

Julie Nyhus MSN, FNP-BC

Nurse practitioner, health/medical writer, wife, momma, amazing badass rocking 10 years without evidence of cancer! www.nprush.com Twitter @joolzfnp