Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pen to paper

I won't be able to do too much writing work tomorrow since we're going out of town. So I decided to do today what I had set aside for Monday. I got some work done on the RGT book, put together articles to pitch for freelancing, and also worked on some trouble spots with another manuscript. I put pen to paper a lot today, making notes and writing out ideas.

But it was not just the writing that I was writing down things about. I have been upset about some things in my life for some time. Today I decided to just write them down. Instead of keeping them all in my head and stewing over them, I decided to write down every single thing troubling me and something I could do to resolve that problem.

I was not able to figure out a solution for all of the things I wrote down. There are two things on the list I could not come up with a solution for. Perhaps the solutions will come to me in time. For now, I can tackle the problems that I DO know how to fix and see where to go from there.

In the past, I've been advised not to write stuff down. I've kept journals, little notes and just ideas for things all put onto paper. I keep to-do lists and write little reminders on Post-It Notes. I've been told, "Don't write all that stuff down." Some people are just paranoid about my notes and journal entries falling into the wrong hands. (Though the neverending mystery of whatever happened to a journal I lost really nags at me.) But, really, writing things down and putting them all onto paper helps a lot.

First, when I write things down, it's easier for me to sort through them. Except for those TWO problems I could not find solutions for, I am able to think through things and figure stuff out better, become more self-aware, if I write them all down.

Second, when I write things down, like ideas, it's easier for me to expand on them, elaborate on them and add greater detail. It's like some kind of invisible tree on the paper and here's one branch with one idea, another branch built off of that idea, etc.

Third, writing about things helps me to get over them on an emotional level. I no longer bottle all that stuff up, because now it's on paper. It's out of my system. What's strange is that this works differently than talking things out. I don't know how, it just does.

Fourth, writing things on paper helps me to determine if it's something worth investing my concentration and time in. I ask myself, is this really something I can write about? Something worthy of actually being a topic? Ideas can be so fleeting and sometimes they are not what they seem. An idea that I thought could be a poem may be better suited as a scene in a story, etc.

And, finally, writing things out is just a great tool in helping me challenge myself to see things differently. Like the problems I wrote down on paper. One of them DID get me upset as I just sat there looking at it, because it's a personal problem (and one of the problems I couldn't resolve!), but I was able to look at most of the items on my list and be objective about them. Thinking about them got me emotional and confused. But writing it all out helped me to "see" them better so that I could work with them.

I know some people "aren't much of a write" and don't really work well with writing things out. But for some people, writing things down is a helpful form of therapy and a great organizational tool. And it's definitely helped me develop a "plan of action" to tackle certain problems I have been dealing with and try to make the solutions to those problems a reality.

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