The Writer’s Garden | #30in30 #WriteLikeCrazy.

I wake up in the morning with writing on the brain. Prone in bed, stretching various limbs, I pepper myself with silent questions. What do you want to post today? Are you going to write that bit about civics? You’re going to the beach later, so how about starting your “Lessons from the Ocean” series? Oh! What about that interesting article? The one you favorited last night?

Grasping for ideas, one invariably jumps up and shouts, “Me! Pick me!”

“Ah-ha!” I think. “I’ve found you!” And so the game begins.

I start my day, usually with some sort of exercise. If I’m lucky, it’s a running day, and I mentally compose my post during the four-mile trek around my neighborhood.

More often than not, I am unable to write immediately after this exercise-induced mind-composing, but I keep those words in a death grip. Sometimes I jot down key ideas. Other times I whip out my phone and record a memo. Every now and then I leave it up to chance, because how could I ever forget this brilliant idea? {Insert knowing groan here}. Hours pass. Locations change. Energy levels rise and fall. But I maintain hopeful excitement. Today’s post will be easy! I’ve already composed it. I’ve just got to get it down.

Finally, writing time arrives. There I sit, fingers gently resting on the home row. I cue up the feeling I had when the idea demanded to be chosen. I pull up the post on my mental screen. And out comes…

Nothing.

I remind myself that this is no big deal, and where are the words you’ve already put together? Just type them! After staring at the screen, perusing whatever documents are handy, playing on social media, looking at my phone, etc., words pour out.

And they are wholly unrelated to the morning’s ah-ha! Not even distant cousins. Strangers.

But here’s the revelation: The words are not strangers to me. They are acquaintances. They are the ah-ha idea from a few days prior.

It’s almost as if the initial thinking is akin to my planting a seed. Just like any other seed, it isn’t ready to sprout right away. It requires nourishment and time. And when the proper conditions exist, the plant grows and blossoms.

This has made me realize a couple of things:

  1. I really do need to keep a steady stream of ideas flowing. If they each take their own sweet time to bloom, I’ve got to sow a full crop! Planting a new seed each day means I’ll have more to tend to and grow in the future.
  2. I must embrace my process. Rather than feeling frustrated that the words I intended are not yet ready to sprout, I should just feed them. That can mean more reading on the topic. Freewrites. Dreams. Talking about it with friends, and so on. Either way, the ideas of today are the essays of tomorrow. But only to the degree I nurture them.

I know what you’re thinking. Writers don’t always have the luxury of coming back to an idea when it’s ready. If you’re on a deadline, you must write anyway! Having written on deadlines, I know this is true. But I also know I usually have an assignment long before the deadline. I start thinking about it right away. I may start the mind-composing immediately, even jot down a few things. But a serious attempt at a draft? Nope.

Key parts of the story go underground. They need time to mature. Fortunately, most of the time, they are ready to bloom just when I’m ready write.

To my fellow writers – it’s just as Tayari and others say. We may not be able to writelikecrazy everyday, but we can trylikecrazy, and honor our process. Let’s keep planting seeds and tending our gardens. I’m confident our efforts will bear fruit.

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