I write a lot of blog posts in my head, especially when I am lying in bed at night snuggled down under my duvet and just about to drop off to sleep. These blog posts are amazing. The subject matter is interesting and amusing, I find the exact words to convey the desired meaning without effort. They flow perfectly, effortlessly from start to finish and would leave the reader with a wry smile of satisfaction and empathy; if they ever got written that is, because of course they don’t. I fall asleep and, by next morning, can rarely recall even the subject of this textual masterpiece.
Sometimes I decide that the idea is just too good to allow to slip. I crawl out of bed in the dark, find pen and paper, and note down a few salient points that will ensure that this post can be created the next day. Having disturbed my tired body on the cusp of a beautiful sleep I will lie for the next hour tossing and turning, persuading myself that lost rest is a small price to pay for the wonderful prose that I will soon create. I wonder if I should just get up and produce the thing, but my need for that elusive sleep, and my husband’s habit of complaining if I try to stay up overnight (he has experience of the grumpiness that would ensue) keeps my head on the pillow.
The next morning I will eagerly seek out an opportunity to write; fetch coffee, my computer and consult the notes that will prompt all those fabulous words to flow. I read the line or two jotted down by torchlight in the wee small hours and perplexedly ponder their significance. Whatever magic they possessed is gone forever, as if it were a dream. I write something else entirely, and publish with the knowledge that it is a poor shadow of that lost prequel.
My best posts are always created at the most inopportune moments. I could be driving my car, cooking a meal or enjoying a long, country walk. Unless I can hold those thoughts and get a few paragraphs down they are entirely lost, unwritten and forgotten. Although I always carry a notebook and pen, a few sentences are not enough to capture the flow of my inner mind. Even when I start to write I find the ideas going off at tangents I had not anticipated. My posts rarely finish as conceived, my writing method is volatile and unpredictable.
I am happiest starting with a simple prompt, a blank page and no preconceptions. I am not always satisfied with what is produced, but value the creative practice. The feedback I receive rarely reflects my view on the quality of the words. Any piece of writing will be interpreted by the reader based on their life and experience, something that cannot be anticipated. I put my thoughts out for my own benefit, although I do nurse a fragile hope that they will touch a chord with someone, anyone else out there in cyberspace.
I am never short of ideas, even if these do rarely turn out as anticipated. My planning consists of deciding on a publishing platform and allowing for subsequent deadlines. As a hobby writer I do not let others down if I fail to produce a piece of work. I do feel personal disappointment, but recognise that what I write truly matters only to me.
Sometimes I think that I should carry a recording device and capture my thoughts when they are fresh. Would this work though, or would ordering the imagined words sterilise their fluid beauty? I may feel a certain sadness that I cannot capture the posts that I create in my head, but the vagueness of my writing process generally works for me. With enough practice I hope to move even a fraction closer to that distant perfection of my dreams.
“I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they’re going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there’s going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if they planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows.” (George R.R. Martin)
I too suffer the dream-state-insomnia from many great ideas. Some make it to the page. Many turn into soething completely different. Most of them slip back away into the ether whence they where born. And once in a Blue Moon the same dream returns night after night, persisting until I scribble down it’s entirely – and a novel is born!
Thank goodness for dreams…
I can so relate to this. Especially when I’m driving, the thoughts just flow, the right words come out, and then I get to the pen and paper and it all goes blank. The words that come out don’t match the magic in the car.
And I’ve written things in the middle of night only to wake up and have no idea what magic I was trying to capture. Frustrating but funny.