There are many things involved with words and writing and by things, I mean techniques, processes, and broad philosophical questions, but the most basic thing, even more basic than What am I going to say is the whole thing about beginning. And by beginning, I mean simply deciding that you are going to begin.
Without that decision, the intention to write remains a good idea, an attractive idea, an idea whose time has almost arrived, an idea you are determined to bring to fruition, but one that can load you down with the weighty baggage of expectation, pressure, and anxiety. This is the kind of idea that can overwhelm and intimidate.
But let’s not make too big a deal about it. It simply means you have to set aside all of those worrying possibilities. It means you are in an enviable place. A place where everything is a possibility and still will be, after you go forward with this decision. You better get used to it and, possibly, even develop some strategies around it, because you’ll have to do this every time you feel like writing.
I’m sure you will find the way that works for you. After all, you’ve got that writer thing in you. A desire to see what’s what. A desire to find out what thoughts are swirling around inside your head. A desire to create something that has never existed before.
Perhaps, it’s a need. As if, without this outlet, your head will explode or, at the very least, there will be a dull ache that aspirin can’t mitigate, that cool compresses have no effect on, that only exercise can cure, and a specific exercise that involves the muscles of hand, head, and heart. All of this preliminary thinking and experiencing are just so much bother that it’s better to simply grab that notebook and your special pen and get going.
Start writing. It doesn’t matter what you are writing. That can come later. Or, next. Right after The or A or Once upon a time or I remember or When I was or whatever mark, what ever word breaks the surface of your sheet of paper. Once that happens, you’re on your way. Try not to stop for a while. That way cobwebs can be swept away, hesitation can be dismissed, and the blood can begin pumping into those three critical areas — hand, head, and heart.
Before you know it, the pen is flying across the surface of the page and is taking you with it. The two of you are skating, dancing, waltzing, and, yes, twisting the night away. Perhaps I just dated myself there, but I’m sure you’re getting the picture. You’re doing it! All this time, even if it is just since yesterday, you’ve been wanting to begin this wonderful activity. And, now you have.
Congratulate yourself. No matter what you wrote, it’s perfect. No matter how long or how legibly, whether or not your thoughts and emotions made it to the page in a way that makes sense to you or does justice to what you were attempting, you did it! Words on the page. It makes everything worthwhile. The great thing is you get to do it tomorrow. Or the next day. Or, even, later this afternoon.
* Words of note — intention, baggage, mitigate, desire, waltz, heart.