Today I want to write about something I’m pretty sure I can’t put into words. I realize that sounds crazy and it probably is.
But isn’t that the fascination behind writing–that desire to brush against the ineffable? To come as close as possible to defining the formless?
It is for me. And since Christmas is the time of year when we make lists of the things we want, I started thinking about those desires of our hearts that we don’t write down, specifically the longings we don’t realize we have until something strikes a chord within us.
Vince Reidsma started out as just my friend Martha’s dad, the guy who kept the pool clean so we could swim all summer. Later, when I was in my teens, he was the guy from church who spent a lot of time talking to my parents as their marriage was unraveling. More than 30 years later, as one of my mom’s best friends, he has re-entered my life wearing a new hat: seasoned writer.
It was my first time facing a group of millennials and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was serving as a panelist at the Indiana University Media School Career Day. As an alumna with a journalism degree from IU, I was there to talk about writing careers.
How would I relate to a generation steeped in technology and global influences when my college memories included snail mail, interviews conducted on landlines, an electric typewriter, and learning to “burn” and “dodge” photos in a darkroom?
On a recent drive to Michigan, I passed the time by listening to author Elizabeth Gilbert being interviewed on the podcast “On Being.” She was talking about the creative process and said the same words that I’ve read on the back cover of her new book, Big Magic:
“The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.”
I admit, I teared up.
Break it down!
Feeling overwhelmed by an idea that you can’t seem to wrangle onto the page? Try this 5-Step Blueprint when writing your blog:
Think of your blog message as a Lifesaver Candy!
I’m often amazed how easy it is to tell a story to someone else, but the minute we switch into writing mode, the same story dies on the page. Writing too often equals overthinking. This morning I was coaching my client Katie and we were both caught in this trap. She had an interesting story to use for her blog. As we worked on it together we kept getting lost in “crafting” sentences
Tell the story you don’t want to tell.
Not that one.
The real one. The one that makes you blush. Or cringe. Or quake.
Go for the jugular.
Write the moment you f**ked up.
Or the instant your life changed.
Terminal prepositions. Are they acceptable, or is the “rule” against ending a sentence with a preposition outdated? A Merriam-Webster editor clears up the confusion.
Write about what’s really happening with you, not the polished version of what you wish were the truth. How do you know what that is?