The in-between tools of writing

The toughest part of writing is starting.

Staring at the blank page, trying to remember all your brilliant ideas. You had so many of them last night, during your kid’s piano recital… and again, during that totally unproductive meeting at work, but now…

Where have all the ideas gone?

Ideas are ephemeral unless they’re captured.

So you should capture them, via any method handy, when you have them.

Ideas are also unwieldy, often, in the first handling or two.

They’re beasts of the air, of thought, of theory, of feeling or experience or intuition or connection. When you’re writing, you’re trying to nail a multidimensional rainbow idea-cloud down to a flat, black-and-white surface.

It’s nice to work with ideas in a gentler way, as you get to know them. Quit trying to pound them into neat, grammatically perfect, fully-formed sentences right off. It’s unkind to you both.

Instead, approach the idea with an outline, or a mind map, or some other in-between tool. Maybe sketching? Putting a list down? Talking it out and recording yourself?

Lots of way to do this.

The in-between tools give you a framework. A playground. It helps that multidimensional idea enter the world of text on paper with play, with exploration, with questioning and associating and connecting. Much better than the grunt-and-bear-down method of forcing an idea to turn itself into verbiage.

Capture the ideas (usually a couple of words or a few phrases are enough) at the moment of thought.

When you’re ready to revisit the idea, use the in-between tools. Then you can go from there, in any sort of direction.