Writing begins with planting ideas.
You know when you have a writing streak? Or worse, before you’re even there – a writing itch? Heck yeah, I get it all the time. At least, all the time at the worst kind of time.
- On the train. But you’re standing up.
- On the bus. But you have to hang onto a pole.
- At 5:30pm on a Friday when you’re about to have drinks with your friends.
- Thursday afternoon after lunch but you have to return to work. Damn.
- Saturday night when you’re at the club… WTF?
- Some other Saturday night when you are seeing your favourite band – AKA the band of the century – and there’s probably gonna be a lot of moshing, so forget even thinking about what you want to write.
- On the weekend when you are driving your younger sibling to soccer practice or ballet class.
- At some just-my-luck moment in a cafe when you decide to stop surfing the internet and actually write but your laptop has 6% battery.
- Really late at night but your eyes are about to fall out of your head because your body wants you to sleep right now.
Been there? Yep. And you know you can do better than that, but you can’t even bother jotting down an idea that you have. I know. I’ve been there too. Like, what is the point in writing down an idea or a topic that you want to write about when you don’t even have an opportunity to write it right now?
Well, there is your mistake, my friend. Despite the fact that, yes, just writing something down doesn’t mean you are making progress, that is where you are fooling yourself. Writing it down is opening the door. It’s really up to you to revisit that note and chug out the words in your head.
I cannot remember when I started my list, but I started a small list of blog topics a few years ago. A few years ago. At the time, I laughed at myself because I wasn’t a person of ideas, I just wanted to “write when something comes to me”. Which is how I write my poetry – somewhat unplanned – but some things need not just attention, but love, in the first place. It wasn’t until last year that I started coming up with what I believed were more valuable ideas. When I look at my list, I get more ideas branching out from what I’ve got, and I feel more encouraged to write those ideas in full.
If you write down an idea, it’s like planting a seed. Over time, if you care to, you will revisit your list of ideas and be reminded of the idea you had at the time, allowing the idea to grow. This is why it is handy to have a list.
A list (and this applies to all lists of “things”, not just ideas or notes) is not meant to be something that haunts you every night when you try to sleep or makes you think you are carrying a heavy weight on your shoulders.
It is not something to sit on your second desktop monitor and appear full every time you look at it and stress about what you “need to do”.
Because believe it or not, in your life, there is always something to do. Writing something down should only be a reminder. If you are writing down an idea, it is an opportunity for you to build up the idea and let it blossom.
It’s not going to blossom if it’s sitting in the back of your mind, unplanted. So get out there, cover your wall in sticky notes, or make a new, fresh, and well-loved list, or give yourself seven minutes and a cup of tea and just write.