1 May 2018

How I begin a post? How I begin a story?

"First of all I want to say awesome blog! 

I had a quick question that I'd like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing. 
I have had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out. I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. 
Any recommendations or hints? Appreciate it!"
It is difficult to answer to an "Anonymous" : why do not leave a name or sign it when comment? The answer is my experience with Stream-of-Consicous writing, I have begun 20 years ago, when at some point I felt like you: "what to write now?"
I found a book, Room to Write by Bonni Goldberg, with 200 "entry points". The first page explained that we have to begin to write and DO NOT STOP till one page is filled. Later, three pages. Whenever we do not know what to write, add "I do not know what to write now, but..." or repeat the last sentence written. 

With time, I learned to go with the flow. Let out what comes. Only later, re-read it, revise it, change it as needed. First, for long time, I filled out notebooks, longhand. Still do but not as regularly. While writing, get the conscious mind out of the way, let your inside "critic". It can come back later, when the first pages are written. 

That also helps to let some deep material come out that is not on the surface.

Try also this method that gives interesting subjects to write or speak of: a list of 100 places you have been. Or 100 ways to show love. Or 100 people, and so on. At first, what is on the surface comes but when we have to force ourselves farther... suddenly interesting discovering arrive. 

I did try the 100 places and nothing interesting come out. Nothing that enticed me to write about it. I was disappointed  A list of 100 places for nothing? 

Next day, I was traveling with the bus and my eyes caught a dilapidated house, and I suddenly remembered the worst hotel, the worst place I even had to live for a week or ten days. A whole period of my life come alive with it, and I could barely wait to write it down. Before, I wrote only the 100 nice places and obliterated the worst one's. But from problems come our best materials.
When I arrived in London 10 years ago, I went to a workshop The Artist's Way, we went through Julia Cameron book, she suggest "morning pages" to get the clutter out and at the end, find snippets of gold. I did that also for six month. Her book helped me also to realize that I do not have to put myself in a box, and can do more then one, different creative things.

Take photos, even if I do not live from it, and by now 13 million had looked at my photos, and tell stories about my life and experience, and offer workshops on comedy.

I begun to blog at age 70, first to publish my diary, and at the same time, I did write -  for ten years -  in French, my blog called "there is life after 70" (Il y a de la vie après 70 ans in French: I was living in Paris then) morning after morning, a personal trip into old age and to the discovery "never too late" along it. Through it, many readers discovered there are not so old after all and can do lots of things for long time.

Often I begun from a picture I have just taken, from a blogpost I just read, a book or a feeling. Something that just happened to me, a sorrow, disappointment or a huge joy. For the blog, I was always aware of the audience, mostly how not to do from other blogs I read. Not to be always down, complaining, unhappy of life. Not to boast always with whatever I accomplished either as I found in another, otherwise very interesting blog. One is boring, the other makes the readers hate me. 

Ups and downs make a good continuing story. That is what I try also in this blog. Sometimes, I write about the problems I am faced or was faced, other time what I accomplished or discovered.

I do not have to "center myself" prior to writing, usually I have to restrain myself and not to write about more then one topic in one post. In this blog of course, I concentrate on Pathways and all my experience around it and try also to help describing my joys and the potholes I fall in along.

When I arrive in the morning to my computer with my breakfast - that I should take instead in bed or eat drink with my laptop closed - I already have the idea from the day before, from the night or early morning what I want to write about this time in this post. 

Sometimes, I have even collected already the images that go with the topic, collecting images often takes more time then the actual writing.

I let go with the flow, do not ponder how to begin. Have you heard the method when you open your notebook (or computer) and write without thinking a page, three pages? You can always revise later. Or put it aside. Let it flow and take you wherever it does. Stream-of-consciousness helps unless your creative powers, take out from you what needs to and sometimes offers very valuable information too.

I could write better  English for sure and I could also give to someone who did offer to revise, but I do write "my way" and it comes out authentic. 

At the same time, I always have an audience in mind. Someone, who asked a question, or myself at the beginning, or answering to what I feel a need. So I do write as I was speaking with that person, this time with you, dear commenter. As you do not think 10 to 15 minutes before you answer to someone, just go with what comes. Before publishing, it is saved. Later you can change, revise, more then when you speak. 

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