No, that’s not true. I apologize. Not all writing is always scary.
Writing a new bookish article for my blog is scary. Writing an essay is scary. Writing the chapters of a client’s book is scary. Writing for a critical audience, real or perceived, (what’s the difference?) is scary. There you have it.
I’m not scared when I’m writing what I know, some experience, something so subjective it would be pointless for you to argue with me or criticise me.
The issue, the wall which rises in front of me, concerns me having to convince you about the importance of what I’m writing.
I get scared, intimidated, despondent when I’m thinking about how to make you buy what I’m writing…what facts can I post? What examples can I mention? Any interesting anecdotes? No? Oh, no!
I panic when I realize I don’t have that research handy, I don’t have those things I need ready right here or I may even have them but I don’t know how to weave them with what I originally thought to tell you without creating a mess.
And really that’s what often happens. I have articles I was excited to sketch, that I felt were real valuable content, maybe some of my deeper writings stoked away for months, some now over a year…years! Example? You want examples?
Okay, I wrote something about averting a “suicide epidemic” over two years ago; I wrote about remote work, complete with some incomplete financial analysis (please pardon the paradox) for companies when we had the first lockdown April 2020.
Have I published them? No. Not yet. I’ve been waiting for more research or more polishing or more something…anything to make them heavier, good enough to be appreciated as grand writing, articles I could share with my business network on LinkedIn or stuff people will read and appreciate as serious writing.
Nah, maybe I don’t need all that go-slow anymore. I can write from my heart and release these birds in the air. They may (hope they do) take flight and find somewhere to roost in minds where they can make a difference positive or at least act as reminders for certain attention or as conjunctions, this time, thoughts that help to link other thoughts.
Hey, all I’m saying before I get carried away by all of these language frills, is that I need to sometimes write simply from the heart without all of these garnishings of research or star structure like important editorials and just get my word out. Who knows, I may get closer to becoming a more editorial writer as I release more birds, sorry, more writing in the air.
Now I find a new way to tackle my fear when a writing task looms like that Goliath before my David.
I seed my writing.
How? I start to write something, anything about my topic as soon as possible. It gives me one step forward. At least I can expel the nonsense in my head about the topic or I can, and very often, discover knowledge and ideas I wasn’t aware existed.
Then I suddenly have something I can work with. Something I can flesh out, edit, modify, build on. Sometimes it’s just a few lines, sometimes it comes complete with headlines for different sections and then content under each section. It’s almost a miracle.
It is a miracle because it truly is beyond me. It’s like starting a fire…did you really start the fire? How? You just put certain elements together. When we really think about it we are not the ones who make fire, it just happens as we follow a certain recipe.
It just happens. The “elements“, the “forces of nature”, The God who constituted it to be that way is the One who makes it happen. We are mere stewards with varying levels of proficiency at what we do.
That’s how I see this my writing method working out. I think it’s like what experts call “freewriting”. I’ve adopted it as my go-to deliverance for battling new topics or ideas for writing and it always works, to a less or greater degree per time but it works.
In fact, it’s the same tactic I am employing to write this very post. And more recently I used this very method to write at least 80 pages of text for a client.
Writing is scary business for me, though not all the time. It’s not always scary. But not every one can say the same. Writing is always scary for some people.
But it doesn’t have to always be that way if you learn to ignore the demand to convince a critical audience so you write what you know as you have experienced or enjoyed it, as you feel your favourite audience will like it, and you learn to take on intimidating writing by seeding it first.
Write freely first, as much as you can, as wide or even as nonsensical as you think, then leave it to ferment, to mature in the dark while you do other work you need to do about it, e.g., research.
When you are done, be ready to come back to rework your writing and watch the miracle unfold before your very eyes as your initial scribble turns to gold.
I wrote this post after reading Sean D’Souza’s post How To Research An Article (Without Killing Your Productivity). The themes are not exactly similar but his article provided the fodder for mine. Please go read it.