Do you want to know what the secret of my success is for beginning the physical process of a written work — the actual pen to paper or hand to keyboard written action of the writing process? Well, I hate to burst your bubble right off the bat, but I have no secret sauce for how to begin the fundamental step of writing a piece of text. I’ve found that there’s honestly no across-the-board secret to it. There’s no one-size fits all, failproof, foolproof strategy out there that works ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the time for EVERY individual in ALL cases.
In fact, here’s how I personally approach the topic of getting my written words on the page at the very beginning of the writing process: I use the strategy that best stimulates the mental thought processes and physical motor skills, leading to the actual writing action for that particular written work.
Does that make sense to you? If it does great, you may not need to read the rest of this blog post. But if you’d like to get a little more context to the content thus far, stay locked in. I’m going somewhere with all of this.
If you’re currently in the process of writing any kind of written work, whether it comes in the form of a(n):
- blog post
- page in a journal
- response to a question
- research paper
- presentation for an audience
- (and on and on goes the list) . . .
JUST START naturally where words come to mind or start flowing to the point that you can formulate them (hopefully, in full sentence structure or close to) on the page in front of you.
I, personally, have found that trying to manufacture words out of thin air never quite works out for my purposes, when it comes to starting a written work. It usually leads to a fail-start, where I end up scrapping the direction I was trying to cold sell to myself and beginning again in a whole new writing direction.
So, I’ve just learned to adopt the mindset to let true creative flow take over in my writing. And if it doesn’t appear to be present at a particular writing session, then I end that session and come back at a more opportune time when I have something to write that I can truly connect with.
Now, I will take this moment to say that your writing start can be a little more challenging when you’re writing on a subject matter that you may not be as familiar with or that doesn’t interest you in any way, shape, or form. (To give you a point of reference, just think back on those past or current “mandatory” writing assignments for work or school that required you to do some research on a “dry” topic that wasn’t of your choosing and then to crank out a report on that very topic.)
Get where I’m coming from?
Those types of writing assignments (very different from the ones that you’re willing to explore because they interest you or tug at your heartstrings in a deeply meaningful way) can be handled from the same perspective that I stated earlier: again, “JUST START naturally where words come to mind or start flowing to the point that you can formulate them . . .”
The principle is the same. Initially focus on simply getting some words down on the page that can branch out and develop into other words, sentences, and eventually into paragraphs that carry a certain underlying theme or bring a main idea to light.
Sound good? Maybe in theory but what about in practical application?
Well, I guess you won’t know until you actually put what I’m saying into practice. It’s almost one of those phenomena that you just have to experience in the moment to make sense of what I’m saying here. The practical reality of writing is that you must keep rehearsing it over and over again to get better at the process, in general. You just have to do it and do it often in order to understand the writing flow that works best for you in those writing situations where you enjoy the task before you and on those writing occasions where you’d rather leave it than take it.
I feel like this is a good stopping point in my discussion to just reflect on “beginning with the end in mind“. In anything in life that you aspire to do or are required to do, think about the end goal that you’re trying to achieve. The steps that lead you to that end goal can be different from person to person, depending on the mindset (attitude) we chose to adopt throughout our goal-achieving process, the circumstances that we face daily that can direct the difficulty or ease of the goal pursuit, the systems we set in place to help us get through the steps toward achieving our goal, and the effort we chose to put forth to arrive at our goal destination.
Out of the list of factors (above) that highlight the nuances that make each of our goal-achievement journeys unique, some are in our control more than others. And one of them, in particular, can positively or negatively direct the progress we make on our writing projects or any other goal we’re seeking to accomplish like no other. Can you guess which one I’m referring to?
Well, I think the old mindset drives a lot of where we go in life. So, I choose that one. I also think that where the mind goes, the heart often follows. And it’s a pretty powerful thing to witness the mind and heart working in conjunction with one another. A lot can be accomplished when they cooperate in a person as a team.
So, getting back to the writing thingeymajig I was talking about before I went off into my tangent about goals . . .
Please understand that getting your written words on a page doesn’t have to be some daunting task that we rarely look forward to, whether or not you relish in the subject matter that has been allotted to you. It’s quite possible to find a strategy that naturally works for your writing purposes at the time.
Next Tuesday, my plan is to come back and finish this discussion to give you some examples of actual strategies that individuals have taken to get words on a page. And, I’ll share my hybrid mixing of strategies that tends to work for me in most cases. Until then . . .