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]