“I briefly woke up and found myself staring up at the ceiling, I saw a lot of bright white lights and I heard a lot of noise then I saw people dressed in blue uniforms hovering around me, only then I realized that I was on a stretcher. “
I use words to paint a picture of my world. It requires practice to become good at it. Good is highly subjective; what may be good for me may be horrible for you. It doesn’t really matter what others think of my words, if I deliver an honest and authentic story than I have succeeded. I may read it back in five years and think it’s crap. For today, I simply know that I did my best at this time.
I will write without the inner critic turned on. The inner critic is harsh — it will tell you that you are wasting your time or you don’t have enough skill to write, or some other self-limiting thought.
There will always be better writers than you and there will be people who know more than you. Only you know your story, and no one can tell your story better than you. No one sees the world through your eyes — your view is unique. Skills come with time — keep writing.
Sometimes I may have an idea for an article or chapter, however, on occasion a blank page stares before me with no idea on where to begin. I will either start typing on the computer or writing long hand in my journal about the day or what I see in front of me.
If there is a topic that requires me to do go deep into an unknown area I will write it out long hand. I find that my journal writing is more profound than typing. When I’m not typing I am able to relax more which allows me to tap into the deep inner wisdom of the universe. The journal writing takes a little longer to produce a final product since I have to type in my chicken scratch and then begin the process of editing.
I set aside at least an hour a day for writing. Sometimes the words will just flow and I can type 1200 words in an hour and another day only 100 words will flow out. Whatever it is, it’s fine. I will do this for several days. If I don’t have a strong idea, I find that my writing will wander a bit — in a little time the writing starts to come into focus and the topic reveals itself. I simply allow the words to flow out with no concerns with spelling or grammar rules — that will come later.
After I have exhausted this idea over a few days, I will have accumulated a lot of words. Writing is only part of the process — the real gold is found in the editing. I then begin to chip away at the writing. I will pull out sentences that I didn’t enjoy or make sense for this topic. The sentences that I do not use for this project may find daylight in another project. At the end it is like a big puzzle with all sentences that fit in with the topic’s theme.
I then move around the sentences into a logical order, on occasion I will see a gap and I will need to write a few lines to make it coherent.
After everything is put together I will read it over one last time, looking for typos and grammar flaws. Sometimes I will read it out loud. When I read it out load I will usually find additional mistakes that I missed during the final reading.
I will agonize some more about the article, wondering if it is good enough. James Altucher recently said, “Hit publish — apologize later.” If this article isn’t up to your standards, I’m sorry — I did my best.