Walking today in Jericho Park, the path was easier than I thought it would be. The rain has melted most of the week’s snow, but I was there bundled up prepared for the worst, clunky boots and all. I was too hot. It wasn’t very icy and I couldn’t have prepared for the muck on the path. There’s a parallel with this issue of the newsletter. (Bear with me.) Before leaving for the walk, I sketched out a few topics to go into but none really grabbed my attention. They seemed forced. As if I had to write something of value, or an article with research behind it. Something maybe important, or worthy of your attention. It felt too much like an assignment. Definitely NOT a walk in the park!
Then I got it: this is easier than I think. After all, I’m writing to you for our own shared enjoyment, right? There are plenty of sources of information that you can google as well as I can! Plus we all have access to so many read-worthy articles, by phenomenal writers. I remind myself that I named this newsletter Personal Papers.
A writer friend once told me the process was actually very hard for her. It was a chore that was time-consuming, difficult, and demanding. I wonder if I missed the memo somehow. The only time I CAN write is when I open out and allow whatever to come through. Fast. I can’t do painstaking. Should I? Not at the start. Even if I fear my unedited ramblings might be meaningless to anyone else, I can’t even think that way if I want to begin to write anything at all. That is a barrier-thought and it stops the voice.
Of course the voice’s expression can be refined and that’s when the editor brain comes in. But not until I’ve had that swoosh of the first draft. And you, dear readers, are mostly getting one-pass articles here - checked for spelling and super-convolution thinking, but otherwise guaranteed free-range and organic. All natural. No additives.
I’m sure other things are easier than I think they are, too. I’m going to look at that.
I want to get better at selecting as I go, then editing as needed. I’m talking about learning when to stop, learning how to discern in process, whether it is editing in camera, framing the shot, or writing from the heart.
In the week to come I’ll remember this idea of relaxation: letting that voice take the lead in a simple spontaneous dance or duet between thought and the form of its expression.
Snow photo by James K-M
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