A blank page is beautiful.
It’s a painting ready to emerge with the colors of words and the brush strokes of sentences. Although it takes many attempts at writes, rewrites, and revisions; the end result is so much more satisfying than the spoken alternative. But it’s painful.
Kurt Vonnegut said about his writing process:
“When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”
It’s much harder to corral your thoughts and write them out intelligently on paper than to just ramble on when speaking. There’s an inherent difficulty in the creative process, but without which the painting wouldn’t be so elegant and satisfying.
Mark Twain once quipped,
“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
In the end, it’s about communicating. – And not just with others, but with ourselves as well. Writing cages the monkey mind. It creates a disciplined environment where you can capture and lay out your thoughts in a non-linear fashion as they arise. Then carefully examine and rearrange them to make sense of and provide additional insights. It allows you to explore the core components of the ideas that were previously bouncing around in your head.
Writing temporarily tames our constant mental chatter by trapping it on a two-dimensional page. This technique is especially useful for unmasking anxiety and fear. When you spell out (literally) the thing that is causing you stress and anxiety, it suddenly calcifies into dry ink on a thin page. Like a mundane item on a to-do list; and becomes much smaller, more insignificant, and certainly surmountable.
Writing forces you to be intentional in what you say.
Now for the personal part. I began working on this blog yesterday and already had an idea for the first post. But I started off by trying to make it all “SEO-friendly”. I even used a long blog title like the YOAST WordPress plugin suggested – apparently Google loves those things! However, this morning I woke up early, with the sun – the best way to wake up, and as I lay there thinking I decided that it simply needs to be in my own voice.
You don’t need to find your voice, you just need to be your voice.
I decided at that point that the writing process will be as follows: write on paper – or in Calmly, and only use WordPress for posting. I suspect this will be good for me. It will help me switch from the mindset of simply sharing articles to internalizing them, determining the value, and then sharing that value with others. Read, digest, apply, then share. Rinse, repeat.