Time seems to disappear into a black hole for many of us, leaving us little time to sit down and focus on writing. Or does it?
Ideas and little insights pop into our heads throughout the entire day. Many of those fleeting thoughts are actually writing topics in disguise, tidbits begging for our attention. But we’re always driving somewhere or meeting someone or reading something else, so we let those potential great ideas flit out of our minds and become just more mental white noise.
That’s sad because we have the technology to record these ideas but people believe writing’s some mystical, magical event, happening behind closed doors with muses and mythical creatures.
Here’s a secret: That’s totally wrong and this is why:
- There’s no such time as the “perfect” time to write.
- You don’t have to write for hours on end to be successful.
- You need no fancy equipment to jot down ideas.
- Writing to completion each and every time is not necessary.
High school and college essays took the fun out of writing, turning it into a chore rather than a fun creative outlet. Through institutionalized assignments, writing became an hours-long unpleasant task, but here’s another secret:
Writers write however and whenever they damn well please.
When I can’t write but I have an idea, I record it as a voice memo on my phone or type it out (internet acronyms and all) in my iPhone’s stock notepad app. If scribbling it on a scrap of paper or leftover receipt works for you, do it. Sitting at Starbucks and notice the quirky way the barista hands out iced coffee with her left hand and hot drinks with her right? Make a note. Suddenly gifted with a flash of insight about a traumatic childhood experience? Write it down.
Don’t pressure yourself to flesh out the entire idea. Keep the notes close by and when you’re ready, pull them out and marvel at how much you wrote. Then take those thoughts and expand on them or work them into your next piece.
I feel like the culture surrounding writing–you need a fancy Moleskein notebook, a fountain pen, a special app–discourages would-be writers. Haute writing accessories are fun, but do not a writer make. Instead, if you’re feeling “too busy” to put thoughts to paper (or screen), remember that success doesn’t mean finishing a blog post a day, a week, or a month; it means you take small steps that bring you closer to working out a real writing plan.