I’ve been writing a lot about podcasting. It’s a passion, of course. But today I’m going to write about writing. Also a passion.
Come to think of it, I’m fascinated by communication—as a skill and an art. My minor was in Communication Studies with a few extra classes in linguistics. My major was in Telecommunication & Film, which could just be called “Telling Stories with Media.”
Because I like communication (and media), I’ve discovered a passion in both podcasting and writing.
For me, telling a story or teaching a concept begins with writing. Okay, okay, technically it begins with research. But when you’re about to tell or teach someone else, writing is the very best place to start.
I’ve noticed something about the way I think when I’m writing.
The edit-while-writing method
First, I have a hard time following the “just write” advice. Jeff Goins, who started this #my500words challenge, says you can get more writing out of you if you don’t edit as you go. I think I get the concept, and I appreciate the advice. And maybe some day I’ll get to that stage.
However, I find that both writing and editing at the same time helps me to articulate whatever message I’m writing. When I said my major in college could be called “Telling Stories with Media,” that was an in-the-moment edit. I feel like that phrasing was better than the other idea that came as I “just wrote.”
I’m glad I edited as I wrote in that particular case. However, I’m not advocating that you write like that. Jeff is probably right. He has, after all, written several books while keeping up a daily writing habit for many years. I’m just getting meta about the way that I write. And right now, that’s how I roll. (Should I edit that cliche?)
Ideas written are not ideas thought
This one’s a bit abstract. Sometimes I’ve experienced writer’s block because I haven’t thought enough about an idea. That is, it feels like the idea is not ready for the pen or keyboard.
I’ve experienced this several times. I sit down to write because my mind is just overwhelmed with thoughts on a particular matter. As my fingers rest on the home keys, nothing happens. My fingers don’t start tapping the keys. My ideas just dissipate. Gone.
During this writing challenge, however, I have partially done the “just write” thing. Sure, I still edit while I write, but I’m writing. I’m actually putting words on the screen, and that feels good.
But more than that, I notice that as the sentences and paragraphs form, they are not exactly what I was thinking. I don’t mean it’s contradictory. Instead, it’s like my nebulous but vivid thoughts are being translated into something that you can read and (I hope!) understand.
The process of writing is what makes the abstract somewhat more concrete.
If that makes sense.
My mind at full capacity
This last observation might seem a bit strange. And I’ll readily admit I have no research to back this up.
I love ideas. Ideas pop like popcorn. It’s something that doesn’t stop.
I wonder all the time. Why? I don’t know, but I’d sure like to talk about it.
StrengthsFinder assessed my superpowers. Mine is Ideation. I’m happy about that.
But I’ve noticed a limitation to my idea super strength. As much as I need to think about them before I write them, at some point, if I don’t get the ideas into some “concrete” form, I get stuck. I can’t seem to move forward with those ideas until I write them.
And more than once, as soon as I have them safely secured (written) outside of my mind, then my mind starts to whirl again with a whole bunch of new ideas based on the now written ideas.
Writing seems to free my mind to think freely again. Then it overflows once more to the page or screen.
So that’s my current thinking about writing.