What Do You Want To Say?
One of the problems we can encounter with writing is that sometimes the passion we have for our topic doesn’t translate onto the page. You know what you want to say, but when you sit down to write, all of a sudden you draw a blank. You can’t decide what to include and what to leave out, you get muddled, confused or worse… nothing at all comes out.
Or you start writing and it’s just not… right.
Let’s address that.
Get Out Of Your Head
Your mind chatter cannot write for you. In fact, your mind chatter is exactly what is in the way of writing. Your mind has no interest in your creative expression, connection, intimacy or relatedness with humanity. Your mind is interested in keeping you safe and in maintaining the status quo, that’s it. Your mind is interested in protecting you against anything that it perceives as a threat. And well, let’s face it, it perceives almost everything as a threat. And writing?? Yes, writing definitely occurs in your head as a threat. What will people think?? What if it’s awful?? What if my Mom/Dad/boyfriend/girlfriend/boss reads this?? It makes me look so bad.
Eighty to ninety percent of the work I do with my clients is attending to them just IGNORING that loud, irritating, unhelpful virus voice in their heads so that what they really want to say comes out.
Here’s the beautiful, irritating, glorious paradox: What your mind thinks makes you look bad is the exact thing that makes EVERYONE ELSE ON EARTH love and feel connected to you.
Two of the most powerful words in the English language are “me, too.”
Someone out there is desperate to read what you have to say.
Someone out there is dealing with the exact same thing that you don’t want to share about. So writing what you have to write and saying what you have to say and sharing yourself in all your glorious, delicious flaws is actually a gift to humanity.
Once you get this part, once you accept the terror and simplicity of it, the mechanics are the easy part.
Whether you know what you want to say but can’t say it … OR you don’t know what you want to say, it’s possible to get that out onto the page. I have all kinds of tricks up my sleeve. I use the word trick deliberately because tricks are required to bypass the gatekeeper (your mind) and get to the gold locked behind those gates. Here are a few strategies I use:
Give yourself some time and:
- Think about it.
This can look a number of different ways.
When you go within and observe what’s happening, you have a much clearer perspective from a place of stillness. In silence you will find the answers.
A.) Schedule time to think about it. Sit down. Set a timer (I usually go for 30 minutes. But if that’s too much – try 15 minutes or heck, 7 minutes used to be my magic number) and sit there. Some people call this meditation. See what comes up. When the timer goes off, walk away.
B.) Time and space can look like not thinking about it at all. Shifting focus to different areas. This might be work- or project-related. This may look like meditating, doing the dishes, going for a run, watching Netflix or in general doing everything BUT think about it.
Usually what happens for me is that thoughts pop up about the very thing I’m wanting to write about. So capture those thoughts! Via voice recorder or voice to text in the notes section on your phone. However it works for you, write it down.
- Talk about it.
Sometimes my thoughts aren’t fully formed and I’m not sure what my message is yet. Sometimes talking about it with colleagues, friends, the Internet can help me develop fully formed thoughts.
And sometimes the more I talk about it, the more diluted the idea gets. And I need to go within, sit with it, NOT think or talk about it.
You are going to have to trust your instincts on this one. I have caught myself in the middle of a conversation and realized I have to shut the conversation down.
“Oh, sorry, I just realized that talking about this is not helping. Mind if we change the subject?”
- Write about it. This looks a lot like the first one. Schedule time. Open a document. Sit down. Set a timer) and start writing. See what comes up.
Just get the first draft down – the down draft, no thinking, this is a brain dump. Puke it all out.
Don’t analyze, edit, critique or judge. Observe what’s coming out, but don’t comment or change. Don’t go back to reread what you wrote. Not yet. Just write.
And then let it go.
There is no one-size-fits all solution, I’m sorry to say. That is the nature of creativity. I don’t always know what wants to be written. I often start writing one thing… and a completely different topic or subject ends up getting written. And that’s OK. Let go of the attachment of the writing having to look and be a certain way. I am just a channel. My only job is to show up at the page.
I’m curious to hear, do you have any tricks on how to get clarity on what you want to say? Please share in the comments below.