- Warm up vignette first. It will remind you to love your writing and will take some of the droll that can come with the wrong approach to writing.
- Don’t edit something just because it needs to be edited. It all needs to be edited. Read and do the work that calls you. Think of it like a conversation. You don’t have to drive through every topic that comes up. Drive through the ones that draw you. And stick with the conversation long enough, and you’ll have driven through each and every section of your book.
- Don’t postpone something you want to do because it will take time. Do it now, while you want to.
- Try not to get too bogged down in grammar and polish. At the same time, don’t necessarily ignore them. They just have a tendency to bog things down. To make you too linear and not nearly as right-brained and emotionally involved as you should be.
- With that said, don’t get too linear. Feel free to jump around. Stop wherever you feel led to. Start over whenever you want.
- Read what you’re editing a lot. Read perhaps more than you write. Read over and over. Read sporadically. Read in order.
- And think. Read and think. And when I say think, I’m really talking about active quiescence. Daydream. Let your mind wander as you read and think about what you’ve written. Wait and let thoughts come to you. Read slowly.
- Remove distractions, so those thoughts can come to you.
- Unfinished things don’t have to be finished right now. Leave them unfinished until you’re led to do something with them, even if that’s to delete them. Also, whatever is next (after editing something) doesn’t have to finished right now. Work on whatever you’re led to. I relate it to writing a poem. You find bits that don’t really fit, but because you don’t know what will fit, you don’t necessarily have to replace those bits right away. You might reshape them some, but it’s in the reshaping of the whole poem that you find out if they fit or not and how you can change them to fit. So don’t feel like you have to know or polish what each part is when you come to it.
Guidelines for writing my thinking documents.
I should only have guidelines that protect me from veering into showmanship. I shouldn’t turn this into some legalistic, neurotic pursuit. I should try to remain true to what I naturally do, which is write to think. The only difference is that I’m revealing my inner dialogue to others.
So how does a person think out loud? Or more accurately, how does a person who naturally fixates on appearing like he has everything figured out think out loud and still be authentic in doing so?
- If you don’t need it for you to understand what you’re talking about, don’t add it.
- You don’t have to make it pretty sounding. You don’t care about that as often when writing for yourself.
- This is not an academic paper. Editing it into sterility is not only too time-consuming, it removes the natural flow of thought that you’d like to keep intact. Mistakes, learning—these are natural processes of learning. Duh.
- You’ll forget these or care more about your appearance at times. If that happens, it’s just another mistake that you’ll have to allow to be public! Ha.
- Develop those thoughts that would drive you to develop them without others knowing you did. Don’t develop thoughts that you only think others would care that you developed, and don’t hide thoughts that you don’t think others would care about.
- You’ll probably add or remove some of these guidelines later. That’s okay. You’re also learning how to post inner dialogue… In fact, by the time this is posted (see below), I will probably have gone through these a few times.
- Here’s a fun one. When should I post this document and the document on how to edit these documents prior to posting? I know that at least in part I want to post them now to preempt all the mistakes that I will post later. Sort of a, “The mistakes you read are on purpose, and I know they’re there, and I know better than them now, so don’t think I don’t know what I’m talking about.” Kind of defeats the purpose of what you’re learning is probably better. So, post them chronologically.