Oof what an up and down couple of weeks for sure.
Last time I wrote about how I wanted to ditch New Year goals in favour of worrying less about stuff. I’ve been trying to re-focus my energy on what matters most and y’know what? So far so good!
Of course I still get sucked in to the vapid moments of comparing Instagram likes or sweating over the lack of SEO optimisation on my personal blog. But I’m learning to breathe it away, remind myself to shift back to values-based success measurement (rather than metrics based) for my passion projects and all around give myself a goddamn guilt break.
Since then I’ve had some super enjoyable writing spurts. The kind where you get so lost in the flow moments that you let your cup of tea go cold three times in a row.
Learning a writing process
I’m also learning more about how I like to tackle each writing session or chapter. I seem to be falling into a writing process that resembles the following:
-- Think about chapter topic for a few days
-- Shower thoughts and 3am musings obsessing over how I might even write specific sentences
-- Self doubt
-- Self doubt
-- Write bullet point list of the most important things I want to cover in that chapter (to focus the whirling thought vortex’s)
-- Flesh out (god I hate that phrase) each point in order
-- Little jazz hands dance in chair when I’ve finished
I’m loving this part of the journey where I get to learn more about how I work. About how I write.
When I first started this project I felt like I barely knew where to start. It was just this huge looming concept of a project which hung over me like a cloud I couldn’t break through. It’s still huge and can still feel foreboding...but I have a somewhat process now. A way of focusing more through the haze and simply getting that shit down on paper.
Learning to write and learning to speak
It has also made me reflect on my battles with language learning over the past couple of years. I’ve always struggled just “getting the words out there”. My studying was good, my understanding and reading of my 2nd language has grown but talking? Oh lord.
I’d want to rehearse a sentence over and over again in my mind, play out whole conversations so that, if and when I did speak, I knew it would be right. That I wouldn’t feel like a fool.
But you have to embrace this, feel the fear and speak up anyway. It’s the only way to practice.
This hit me at the weekend when I sat down to write a chapter I’ve been thinking about for a while now. I had my bullet point list, tea at the ready and the whole day set back to get it done. I was craving those moments of flow I had experienced earlier in the week.
Where the heck did they go??
I spent hours staring at that darn blank screen, every so often trying to fight back the feeling of self-doubt with Twitter distractions (note to self: reading Trump tweets is very detrimental to your copywriting work).
I would write a sentence, delete it, write it again, delete it again, write whole paragraphs then change it all in a fit of panic. All the while experiencing this ever growing sense of tension and fear that my writing process was a sham...that I’m a sham.
JUST WRITE. JUST MAKE IT EXIST.
EVEN IF IT SUCKS JUST HAVE IT EXIST IN THE WORLD.
Hands on keyboard.
Like with language learning, getting your writing process down is rewarding and effective...only so far. Half of the battle is doing the bits that really frighten you which, for me means letting go of the perfectionist obsessions of what I want to say and just allow myself to say something at all.
The chapter I wrote at the weekend is not what I want to be but gosh darn I did it. It exists. It gives me something to play with when it comes to editing.It taught me things about learning when to take a step back in to basics and reminding myself what I really want out of it at this time.
Just for it to exist.