What’s holding you back in making the transition from thinking to writing? You have such witty thoughts running through your head. What’s preventing you from putting them down on paper? Is it writer’s block? Or is it merely a case that you have wonderful thoughts bursting to get out and you think you have to write it perfectly on the first try?
Well, get over yourself. No one writes perfectly on the first try. In fact, the best writing often starts out as the messiest of all.
Creativity is not neat and tidy. It takes a good deal of mess to make the transition from thinking to writing. You have thoughts going this way and that way in your head. It usually takes two or three drafts of a piece of writing to tame those thoughts into a coherent piece.
Here are some tricks to getting those snappy or pithy, profound thoughts into writing:
1. Start with a list. We all make lists to tell us what we want to accomplish or what we want to pick up at the store. A good place to start with writing is to make a list of some of the points you want to make. Just jot them down. They don’t have to be complete thoughts. They don’t have to be in the right order. Just jot down the thoughts that occur to you as they occur to you.
2. Rest. Let your list sit for a while. A bit of fermenting will help your list. After you let it sit, expand your list by making sub-lists for each point on the original list. Eventually, each mini-list will make a paragraph in your final copy.
3. When you begin to write, write with abandon. Don’t look back as you write. Don’t censor your muse. Instead, move forward in your writing. The first draft is for your eyes only. Just put the words that come into your head onto the screen or paper. Worry about editing them later. I have always found that it is easier to revise writing than to write on a blank page. So, as you make the transition from thinking to writing, just slap some words on that page so it’s not blank any more.
4. After writing with abandon, print out a copy of it and read through it on paper. Some of you may do this on the computer screen. I don’t. Nothing equals reading your writing on paper. It is more revealing to me. I see ideas in my mind when I read on paper. That may not be the same for all writers, so you can choose to modify this part of the transition from thinking to writing.
5. With paper in hand, make notes as you read. First underline the points that you wanted to make. Also, while you’re reading, other points will occur to you. write these into the margins in as much detail as you need. They are your new lists to merge with your first draft. Now, you are writing draft two.
6. Repeat this process by reading and refining as many drafts as you need until you have put all the thoughts in your head onto the paper. Between drafts, it’s always good to let your writing sit for a while. A fresh look at it will aid you in making the transition from thinking to writing.
You’ll know when the piece is finished. When you are reading it, you won’t feel the urge to make lists in the margin. It will sound right to you and you’ll have chiseled order out of chaos.
How do you make the transition from thinking to writing?