Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thinking

I needed inspiration, and I needed a place to start. I just wanted to write something.

It was as if I was thumbing through my own thoughts, yet getting nowhere--pages and pages of faded, grey text mocking me. I was so determined in this action I could feel the edges of imaginary paper rub against my thumbs. No corner, confine nor metaphorical filing cabinet in my brain had the words I needed. I shifted and fidgeted to keep my anxiety down--my only means of taking the edge off of an otherwise calming day. He huffed on his cigarette a few more times as I avoided the line of smoke; I suppose that is his means.

"Write the way you think," he said.

He said it so coolly I felt dense for asking (I had been picking his brain for the majority of that afternoon). I was drowning--he said it first--and the black sea was unforgiving. Classes were in progress, goals were being made and broken, and I was feeling the pressure.

‘Write the way you think.’ If I cannot say what I am thinking, how am I supposed to know where to begin?

My focus phased in-and-out for the rest of the evening, but negativity was nigh.

The way I think will never do. The way I think is too primitive. Worse: the way I think is too honest--proving just how lousy I can be.

“You’re too focused on writing… Stop writing and start thinking,” he said.

I have put away all of my files, my thumbs have been bandaged, and I am sitting in my best pair of pajamas, to think--not to write, but to think. Wish me the best of luck.

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I appreciate all of the conversation this has sparked! I feel I should reiterate a point for you all so there is no confusion:

I am an English major in college with a focus on magazine writing. I am not, by any means, a creative writer.

This particular post--though it wasn't said--surrounded my inability to come up with something good and "me" for the campus' magazine. Not to mention school had been wearing me out, so it wasn't helping my ability to think things through. That's why he told me to stop trying to "write" for an audience and just get passionate and write the way I think. Write the way I think so I can reach people in my article.

People spend way too much time trying to write impressively and forcing themselves to write through different exercises--they don't just let the words flow as they naturally would. And that's what he was trying to tell me.

Keep the comments, going, though! I'm enjoying hearing about your techniques in writing and why or why not you think this was good advice!

19 comments:

  1. Lol Best of luck ;) You'll come up with something! :)

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  2. see... you came up with a brilliant post without trying ! you are a natural.. glad i found you via bloggers . you can find me at http://purplechronicle.blogspot.com/

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    1. Aw, thank you so much! glad you found me! :D

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  3. "Stop writing and start thinking" I feel like I need to print this out and put it on top of my monitor! Your blog is pretty awesome :) found you from the 20SB forums!

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    1. He's a really smart guy! Thank you! I hope it helps you as well!

      Isn't 20sb a great place? :)

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  4. This post captivated me. I love the way you write, it's so beautiful :)

    I'm new here so I don't know what kind of writing you do but I'm a writer (fiction/creative writing) and I have a couple suggestions.
    first, I'm going to go against the advice in the post and say "stop thinking and just write." If you want to write, then sometimes you just need to throw shit at the paper and then burn it, because it was such nonsense, ya know? However, if you need to think...then yes, stop writing. Go for a walk and think.
    My second suggestion: have you ever heard of Julia Cameron? She has a book called The Artist's Way that helps you be more creative. It's actually kind of a series and I'm working on number 3 (Finding Water) and one of the main tools of the book is to write Morning Pages. Wake up every morning and before doing anything else, sit and write 3 pages. It doesn't even have to make sense, or it can be bitching and whining for 3 pages or it can be the same word over and over. Whatever you are thinking, stream of consciousness or more, as you need. But it can really help you get out of a rut.

    Sorry for the long comment. Good luck with your writing :)

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    1. Thank you so much for the advice! Unfortunately a lot of those books never help me because they aren't geared towards what I do, and they only leave me in more of a rut because it's missing something that doesn't reach out to me, however I'm willing to give anything a chance once.

      I am an English major in college with a focus on magazine writing, and I write nonfiction here.

      This particular post--though it wasn't said--surrounded my inability to come up with something good and "me" for the campus' magazine. Not to mention school had been wearing me out, so it wasn't helping my ability to think things through. That's why he told me to stop trying to "write" for an audience and just get passionate and write the way I think. Write the way I think so I can reach people in my article.

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    2. oh, and never apologize for length-y comments. i enjoy the conversation. :)

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  5. i like this a lot! this will be going through my head next time i can't seem to figure out what to write!

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    1. well you must have no problems with what this post is about then, haha.

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  7. I disagree. If you think too hard- it hinders the proces (at least for me).

    I find that when I'm blocked, freewriting is perfect. Just look at something in your house and write about it for 3-5 minutes without stopping. Even if it's complete dribble. Even if it's just thoughts or ramblings. ANYTHING.

    It might help.

    Alternatively, I like to just write snippets. Just going out and people watching or looking at something mundane or something interesting, and purely describing it. Not making up stories, just describing it. That can get things going for me.

    Just write for the sake of writing. Thoughts get in the way because you judge and filter them- and then you end up writing nothing at all because like you said, you disapprove of your thoughts.

    Hope I helped at all.

    Love your blog.

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    1. Thank you so much for coming to visit my blog! And thanks so much for the sweet comment. :)

      I appreciate the words, but I'm not a creative writer so that wouldn't help me at all, really.

      As I said to Kendra above:

      "I am an English major in college with a focus on magazine writing, and I write nonfiction here.

      This particular post--though it wasn't said--surrounded my inability to come up with something good and "me" for the campus' magazine. Not to mention school had been wearing me out, so it wasn't helping my ability to think things through. That's why he told me to stop trying to 'write' for an audience and just get passionate and write the way I think. Write the way I think so I can reach people in my article."

      Here, he was basically telling me to stop worrying about making my writing impressive and to just allow the words to flow as they naturally would. :)

      I can understand how over-thinking it would give you a bit of a block, as well. :) But I wouldn't think too hard on this. I would just write the way I think.

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  8. Love this post. Such great advice! I agree that writing how you think helps to add personality and makes a writer relate-able.

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    1. Thank you so much! And yes, once I actually begin this article, I hope to make this personable. :)

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