Post the First

31 12 2008

I am always, unfailingly, unswervingly impressed with people who know exactly what they want to write the minute they attach their rear-end to a chair, bed, bean bag, lap, what-have-you. What is the deal with that? Do they keep thinking about what they’re going to write as they’re walking around finishing other stuff, or is like a gun goes off in their heads. boom! Folks, iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit’s writing time and some tappity tap tap later…voila! They’ve actually managed to conjour up some words on the screen.

It’s mortifying.

Enough to make a girl quit at times. Because as it happens very often with me, I sit down to write, I know what I want to convey yet…yet the words just won’t budge. It’s like fishing for tadpoles with a torn net. You spot the bugger and just as you’re about to swoosh in and net him, poof, he’s gone. One good thing is that anyone’s who’s been watching you gets a great laugh. And if you want to go kill yourself over something as silly as knowing what to write but not being able to do so is clearly not anybody’s problem.

I thought I figured out a way to deal with the problem. Lists! Yes, make lists. Lists of ideas, characters, places, seas, rivers, continents. fictional and otherwise. The idea behind the whole execrise ios that if you keep these lists in your head, the words will trigger memories and connections to various objects, effectively bridging the gap between “ooh I got a great idea for a story!” and “I’m finally finished with this chapter!”. As of now, I’m stuck between “ooh I got a great idea for a story!” and “Errrrrr…..well…ummmm.”

So I chucked the lists but found a substitute soon after.  Mind maps!

When I was in 8th grade, about to graduate Middle School, somebody (don’t remember who sorry) came up with the idea of having mind maps as our yearbook write ups.  So next to your gangly picture in glasses (in my case, braids….don’t remind me)  you’d have a mind map. 

Think of it this way.  You write your name in the middle of the page and then draw small lines that branch off towards circles (or whatever other shape you like) where you write about things that describe you or excite you, like your interests and hobbies.  And you keep adding to those.  So, in effect it will create a cloud of words, phrases and pictures that describe your time spent at school,  activities, interests, fun stuff you did with your friends, crushes, the love of your life stuff like that and the end result would look similar to a tag cloud only it was a tag cloud about you. 

You are at the centre and the words surrounding you are your world.  It was interesting to see the sorts of things that lived inside people’s heads.  Of course, it was 8th grade…so there was a lot, I mean a LOT of posturing. BUt, even so, for some of us that mind map became like a mirror we went back to year after year, to see if we could add something or remove something from it. 

It really is your journey as a person. 

Maybe you should try it sometime.  It might surprise you.