(Note: there is some R-rated language in this post)
When it comes to sitting down to write, I have an approach that helps me get my ideas out easily, going from a typically nebulous, unfocused state to the beauteous writing you see before you 🙂
For starters, I learned a long time ago to trust the process of clearing my mind on the page to help me access ideas. For many years, following Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way,” I wrote daily morning pages in which I scribbled whatever thoughts came to mind, no matter how base, inane, or meaningless. My words could be poetic or profound, though often they were your garden-variety complaints or negativity. I learned not to censor myself, to allow my every thought onto the page.
This is the approach I still use, especially when I am first getting focused. It’s fine if my first words are meaningless drivel. Especially at the computer, the first things I type are often resistant or unfocused. I may repeat non-substantive words over and over again as a sort of focusing mantra, like this:
“Okay um yeah um okay um yeah, um yeah, um okay um yeah.”
Typically I erase these first words right away as my thoughts become more coherent:
“I want to write my blog post. What do I want to write about? Um, Today I am thinking about, I’m thinking about, how my thoughts create my life experience.”
Without any strain or concern, I get clearer as I continue to put down thoughts that come to me. When I’m writing a blog post, an idea starts to take shape. If I’m focused on other things such as daily tasks, I’ll be reminded of an email to send or a teaching project to accomplish. In that sense, my writing session becomes a planning session.
Sometimes it takes a little time to get myself focused, especially if I started out in a resistant mood. If that’s the case, my opening sentences could trend negative, like this:
“Shit oh shit fuck man, shit man, fuck man, fuck man, um fuck man fuck…”
I find it best to just let it out. This gets it out of my head and helps me focus. Of course I usually delete such stuff right away. More clear-minded (and positive) thoughts generally follow.
The beauty of the blogging process is that I can take this organic approach and easily edit what I’ve got into a presentable blog post. What ends as organized thinking often starts out as stream-of-consciousness typed out freely. I never concern myself with editing or organization in the beginning, preferring first to get the ideas down. Sometimes I don’t even know what my topic is until several paragraphs into my writing session. On the other hand, if I don’t like what I’ve written or don’t feel it is appropriate for a blog post (sometimes it’s not), I delete and start all over. Sometimes I take a break and come back later for a second try.
This process is reliable and relatively pain-free. I never worry about planning what I’m going to write about ahead. I never worry about not getting ideas. I am always confident that I can come up with something to share.