Writer’s Notebook 4/12/20 – What am I Even Trying to Say?

I sat down to write this weekend and suddenly found my mind totally empty. Instead of having anything to actually write on the page and make progress, my brain served up a bunch of – rather annoying – questions:

What am I trying to write about?

Is there a book here??

What am I even trying to say?

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I stared at a blank screen for a while, considering these questions and thinking that it might be a good time to just give up. In the old days, I could have ripped out some pages of a notebook and balled them up to throw, very ceremoniously, into the trash bin. Or, even better, I could have yanked a freshly typed page out of a typewriter, balled that up and thrown it at the wall for a nice bank shot into a trash bin. There’s something much less satisfying about deleting things on an iPad. You just hold your finger down for a few seconds and select “delete” – not nearly as fun as balling up paper and throwing it.

But, thankfully, I have this little stubborn voice inside of me that really doesn’t like to let me quit things. That little voice told me not to delete anything and instead to open up a blank document and just list down what the heck I’m trying to say in this book.

I do have an outline already done but at some point I think I got lost even in my outline. So, I pulled up to a 35,000ft level to look down at the landscape from a new vantage point. What three to five points do I want to make with this book? What do I want my key message to be? Can I simply focus on that for a bit?

I’m sure that there are already writing tips out there that would have told me to do this type of thing in the first place. I’m really not following anyone’s guide on my writing journey, I’m trailblazing my own way through the jungle of aspiring authorship. I am a kinesthetic learner, I learn by doing and that often means making mistakes and pressing myself through difficulties that others have already figured out. I personally need to go through the experiences myself in order to truly learn my lessons.

Writing that simplified outline really helped me get oriented. I decided to look at the chapters I’ve already written and see how they fit in this simplified, “thesis statement” outline. Thankfully, they all do fit with the message I’m trying to convey but I did find that I have been spending all of my time in one area and neglecting others. This is probably why I felt so lost initially this week. I had been circling the same territory again and again rather than moving on to a new spot. Getting clear on my intended message helped me navigate my way out and on to the next section.

This week was a great learning experience for me. So while I didn’t get the satisfaction of balling up paper and tossing it in the bin, I was able to make progress and that’s what my writing journey is all about!

Until next week,I #amwriting … still!

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