I’ll write and do things as long as anyone cares. I honestly probably wouldn’t write if nobody cared. I don’t have enough humility for that, I’m ashamed to admit.
~James Altucher on his blog jamesaltucher.com
I've been doing extra writing lately. Actually, I'm not even sure if that's exactly true. But for some reason, actually sitting down to write has gotten even more difficult these days. Maybe it's because now that I know that I officially have ADHD, I've surrendered to the antsiness. Or possibly it's just because I've got too many projects going at once (refer back to ADHD diagnosis issue.)
Since the things I'm writing lately are commitments I've made to others – articles for their publications and other joint venture projects – I've had to figure out a way to actually complete them. In that process, I've noticed something incredibly useful. It's something I think you should know about because it might help you, too, in case you have trouble getting yourself to sit your fanny down and write.
I write way better when my writing has a meaningful landing place.
I've always wanted to journal. There's something very romantic for me about sitting down with a cup of tea (I way more often drink coffee, but tea sounds a lot like journaling accompaniment, doesn't it?) But truth be told, I have way more half-written journal entries than completed ones. Here's how it goes: I sit down, comfy in my reading chair. I open my beautiful journal to a random page and begin reading. Just getting myself into the mood, I tell myself. I read that page of half-written entry, and then another. Fifteen minutes go by as I read over my thoughts and feelings from years past (I can fit a lot of years in one journal, as you might imagine). Then I realize that I am almost out of journaling time so I force myself to put the pen to the page and begin… I write some things, top of mind and heart thoughts. I lay that layer onto the page, and then I get stuck. Every once in a while, I break through that stuck moment and I write some deeper feelings. Most often, I give up and go check email.
The problem with journaling is that it doesn't have a landing place. It's not going anywhere.
I already know you're thinking, “Of course it does. You journal for yourself. That is a highly meaningful landing place.” But apparently for me, just imagining writing for myself isn't enough. I need a not-me-someone on the other end.
My writing flows more freely when I have a really clear picture and feeling of who it will serve or who it will “land” with.
Like today, I'm thinking of Tamara, Nancy and Sarah as I write. When I see their faces, and I write to them in a way, the words come to me so much more readily. I know for absolute certain that they care what I have to say (whether they read this exact blog post or not) – they truly want to hear it. And I think this topic would engage them and inspire responses and conversations with them. I'm not only thinking of them, of course – you are in there, too (assuming you aren't one of them). I begin with them and I reach out from there. On another day, with another topic, there's a good chance that you are first in mind for me. Much like James Altucher in that quote above that I took from his About page, I need to know that someone who cares is on the other end of my writing. That's how I get stuff written.
I wonder if you have strategies of your own for helping the words flow? If not, how do you think this would work for you? Or do you even need strategies to get the words flowing?