From Scratch, Daily
Every morning I glance at a blank page and begin to write from scratch. I’m sure your own writing process is different in many ways, but for me the act of beginning to type is a signal to the brain to get to it already. Often I’ll delete entire paragraphs that ultimately don’t make the cut, but Stephen King told us to kill our babies, didn’t he?
That last paragraph may ultimately disappear into bits and bytes of what might have been. This one too, may pay the ultimate price for being in the early stages of a thought. Or maybe not, should I be so bold as to believe an idea is worth putting out there as it is when it dances off the fingertips. Time will tell.
The easiest blog posts to write are about places I’ve been to or things I’ve experienced. The hardest are about things I process in my brain in the early morning hours as I contemplate whatever ideas I’m toying with at the moment. But isn’t that the way conversation works too? We enthusiastically jump into conversation about things we’ve experienced, but are more reluctant to dip a toe into deep philosophical or abstract waters. Want to ice the waters even more? Make it deeply personal.
This blog about places I visit in the northeast corner of North America evolved into a deeper dive into waters I didn’t expect to swim in. But a blog is meant to evolve as its writer does, and this writer is ever-so-slowly evolving into something better than the person who started writing it. One book or one experience leads to another, which opens the mind to new ideas, which end up in the blog when they’ve properly steeped in the brain for a time. That’s life, isn’t it? A bunch of people figuring things out lumped together and occasionally bumping into each other.
The easiest path to a blog post is to drop in a quote or poem that inspires deeper exploration. I use this frequently, and have a stack of drafts awaiting further exploration. Likewise, I revisit highlighted passages on the Kindle or pull old favorite books off the shelf now and then to flesh out a thought that sits in limbo a beat too long. Like that conversation you have in a coffee shop or on a quiet walk, contribution from others opens up new ideas in your own mind.
A blog ends up being a mostly one-sided conversation, as one person figures things out in this strange and complicated world we live in. But nothing is more complicated than the human brain, reacting and adapting to the changes, both within and without. We’re all a work in progress, and a blog offers you the chance to place it out there for all to see. I wish a few more people I know would start writing their own.