The bifurcation of possibilities when I start writing is fascinating to me. I know it seems like I overuse the word fascinating. But I really mean it in its literal sense as being “something close to spellbound.”
I’ll start writing and once I’m in a groove I’ll let my head lead me off on one tangent after another. The “not problem” is that I rarely have enough of a topic in mind to be able to consider these stream of consciousness journeys actual ‘tangents’. After all, there’s no circle.
But after two or three of these things (two is usually my magic number) I’ll see what I’m doing then use that to pick one and try and run with it, allowing myself THEN to actually tangent into related stories and vignettes I think of as being useful background information to make the point or tell the story.
It can be pretty frustrating when I think I’m going forward on a specific topic and end up getting derailed and not realizing it until my brain has been pulled entirely off track. But on the other hand it is frequently the case that it takes me a couple pinball bounces off the walls before I get in the groove of what’s on my mind. So the original topic may actually be the tangent. I never really know until I just let myself rip.
So that frustration ends up balancing with a tremendous amount of satisfaction. I end up “staying out of my own way and letting my fingers type what they will” which is a kind of skill of its own.
Even right now, as I typed that sentence, I can feel my brain pulling me in the “the art of staying out of your own way and letting the words come” direction. The difference RIGHT now is that I find that a well worn topic in my head (if not on the page) so I don’t feel the compulsion to “get it down while it’s on my mind” the way I usually do.
It sounds like a joke when I tell people I learn things only when I’ve heard myself say them. But that holds equally true for writing. Something about the division between parts of the brain where I come up with language and parts where I actually learn and understand things. Again, fascinating.
So now, with THIS whole aside…do I go back to the original post? Or do I continue on this one? In the spirit of being more intentional about writing I think I’m going to leave this and go back to the original one while my brain percolates on this.
It’s two days later. What I did was go back to the original post and hit publish. I got here this morning thinking about the one I posted a few minutes ago. But I really wanted to go back to this.
I love these little journeys my head takes. There are a couple points of friction though, which perhaps paradoxically serve me quite well. On one hand the pressure I’ve put on myself to hit publish forces me to “stay on target” so I actually DO end up hitting the ‘publish’ button. On the other hand it stops me, in so far as it does the former, from letting myself just rip and follow these tangents wherever they may lead.
I need that pressure to keep me honest and actually write with some intention, to be sure. I’m not willing, whether or not I’m able, to give that up. Because if I did THAT then all of this typing would just recede into “casting the lots of chaos” and I’d never progress at all in my wordsmithing, regardless of the visibility of the result. That would be unacceptable.
I think the sweet spot would be to declaratively do both. Write intentionally for consumption and just let my fingers drag my forebrain where they will. I get the overarching sense that the structure, important as it is, is actually causing me to miss out on things. But I’m not quite sure how to do that. One seems much like the relaxation of the other.
It’s all okay for now. Bird in the hand, and all. I do need to level jump: Longer pieces, deeper thinking, etc. But I’m somewhat inclined to “let that come” as it will, as long as I stay relatively “intentional” about putting words down with a purpose.
It’s just all so damned much fun though, especially now that I’m more consistent with it all than I ever have been and can see the progression over time.