I wasn’t going to do NaBloPoMo month this year — National Blog Posting Month. It’s not like last year went horribly, it’s more like I made a conscious decision not to do it this year. But I made that decision for no reason in particular, even though it sounds like a really good reason to start posting more (because I certainly haven’t).
But, ironically enough, I have had things happen to me in the past three days (since the beginning of November) where I’ve felt compelled to write something. And then reading this blog post made me go “Well … maybe.”
I thought I could backdate posts, and it turns out I can’t, so here’s the plan: the following one actually was written on Nov. 1. So that will be Nov. 1, but posted as Nov. 3. There’ll be a placeholder for another day or so for Nov. 2, because I left the file somewhere inaccessible right now (but that means it was also written on Nov. 2!), and then there will be a proper posting for Nov. 3. And then we’ll see how it goes.
The blank page and the blinking cursor has never intimidated me. Never? OK, maybe I’m just blocking some instances out, but trust me, I’ve stared at a lot of blank pages and blinking cursors.
It’s not so much intimidation though as “Where to begin?” And every time, the answer is just, begin. Begin somewhere. In those really complicated stories, where I have so much to say and I don’t know how to start saying it, I just start with whatever I think I should start with, and then at least it’s begun.
It’s the way I think. There are some things that I really have to talk my way around before I hit on what I want to say. Not always fun for the person that I’m having the conversation with, but it’s like I have to get all the nonsense thoughts and not-well-worded thoughts out of the way before I can get down to the crux of the matter.
That’s not saying it always takes me a long time, but when I can’t think of where to start, I always know that the sooner I put something down, the sooner I’ll get it done, because I’ll be working through saying everything I don’t need to say.
I will start with garbage ledes. Sometimes, it’s easier to have a garbage lede than to be married to a lede that you think is so brilliant, and even though it’s not getting you anywhere, you’re so in love with the wittiness of it that you just can’t let it go. You know you should, and you know you ought to, but those ones are almost worst. At least with the garbage ledes, once that’s out of the way, I’m likely to actually write something good in the body copy where I can go, “Aha! That is exactly, and succinctly, what this story is about and what the lede needs to say. It just took me a while to get there, but no one needs to know that.”
I was working on a document (Thursday) that I should have started (Wednesday), and I did, technically — I thought about it and even opened a word document, but I don’t know what to say. So that was the first thing on my to-do list (Friday), just to get it out of the way, so I could focus on other projects. Because there is another project that I want to move forward on. But I have to get this document out of the way first.
Editing note: It’s funny, because after writing this on Thursday, I went to a “creative talk” Friday where people talked about doing exactly this: sometimes you have to clear your head and freewrite, just to get all the other “stuff” out of your head so that your brain can focus on the writing challenges it really needs to focus on. And that is a perfect segue into Nov. 2.