In Draft Mode

It would be fair to say that I live a lot in my head. An active imagination will do that for you. But what I’m thinking about specifically is how I do quite a lot of my writing in my mind, editing and rephrasing and tweaking, before it gets the chance to come to life on the page. This might not be unusual, but I wanted to tease the idea out a bit.

I have become more aware of my perpetual drafting as I think about topics to blog about. There are some weeks when it is easy to tap in to a recent experience or something I’ve been researching and create a post around the contents. There are other times when it feels as though a deadline is approaching and my mind is a crisp unsullied page and I wonder what I will pull out of my ear this time. Because that’s the thing – my mind will always come up with something. I have written before about ‘don’t ask, don’t get‘ and I rely on my subconscious mind to keep toiling away whilst I’m doing other things so there are at least a couple of ideas that I can work with.

This is where the drafting process comes in. Once there is a kernel of an idea, regardless of how remote or absurd, my mind will start to play, to tease out threads of thought. Through word association or a mental mind map, the kernel starts to expand and grow, and through drafting I start to sense the shape of what is possible. Sometimes I need to get pen and paper out, or tap out some words in a document, to get things moving, but by this time there is at least a trickle of thought that can be tapped.

Letters are another format where I do a lot of mental drafting before I begin. I have mentioned the joy of writing and receiving letters before, and I will usually take a bit of time to think about the essence of what I want to communicate before putting it on paper.

This perpetual drafting, of playing with words, thoughts, ideas, concepts, helps in the expression of what I want to communicate as well as ensuring that my mind is always at work.

Do you give much thought to what your mind gets up to?

[Photo of Strahan Harbour, Tasmania]

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6 thoughts on “In Draft Mode

  1. I was just going through this problem a moment ago, I think it happens to most people. The blank page is always daunting. So far my brain has managed to keep up. So far. I used to have a blog 2-3 years ago that was much larger and much more successful than the blog I currently have, but I gave it up because I had ran out of things to talk about.

    Here I am, trying again.

    Good luck to you.

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts – it’s always encouraging to know that you’re not alone. Good luck too with the resumption of your blog and I’ll pop over to see what you’re writing and here’s hoping our brains are up to the task!

  2. When I first started blogging I probably did some of what you are talking about, as I had themes that I had never expressed and were already somewhat formed before I put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard!). Most of the work had been done in my head first.
    These days though I tend to just start, with an idea that I may have jotted down earlier, or sometimes the daily prompts, and just write whatever comes. Almost without exception, that writing needs quite a lot of tidying up, as it is kind of ‘stream of consciousness’ stuff, but I am usually pleasantly surprised with what has popped out of my brain. A good many blogs have come about this way. I’ve written something up, come back to it a week or two later, pleasantly surprised that what I wrote actually has some substance! Then I work at tidying it up, filling gaps etc and then hit “Publish”.

    • Thanks, Terry, for an interesting insight into how your writing works. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has done much of the pre-work mentally before sitting down to actually write. The change in your process over time was telling, and it’s great that you can now make a start without drafting and end up with something workable after some editing. It sounds like the development of your writing muscle, if you will, has really progressed and you have more creativity to call upon when required which must be a great place to be.

      And I know the fabulous feeling of coming across something that you just dashed off a little while ago, revisiting it and finding that it has merit. Just great!

  3. Interesting post. I’m sure the subconscious does a lot of the work. Sometimes I’ll just have a few words written down, or perhaps a fragment of conversation and then it just sits there but eventually I will come back to it and something will just happen. I think that’s one of the reasons I write, that joy of creation.

    Mind you that’s often balanced by the frustration of having a whole passage in your head and you want to get it down but the first few words just elude you. It’s at that moment that I feel like operating my IPad with my forehead.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who seems to do a lot of work in my head, even if it isn’t apparent that I really am working to anyone else. You capture the truth of the joy of writing, those moments when it all comes together and the flow is there. I had to smile too at your thoughts of a forehead to iPad transfer. If only …

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