I have an idea for a book, or a course, to write. It can eventually become a self-paced online course, or a book with practical/reflective tasks, or both. In fact, the post here is not about the idea for that ‘something’. It is about not writing it.
I recently realized how my process of the actual writing depends on what others think. I caught myself creating a list of people I (should?) need to contact, and the specific questions to ask them (about the process of writing, about the topic/theme for this project, about the potential audience, ‘would you read it’ kind of questions, etc.) On the one hand, this might be seen as a preparation stage for the writing itself. On the other hand, I noticed that I am feeling much more comfortable doing this ‘preparation’ instead of the actual writing, or putting the content of the project on paper. It’s all in my head, and I am savouring the moment of anticipating how I will be putting it together. Well, instead of the actual ‘doing’ it!
Is this the habit (the ‘curse’?) of student-centered-ness in the classroom? Of participant-centered-ness on a course? How can I start writing what I actually think if I am constantly looking back and thinking what others might add/comment/ask?
Am I afraid that the result would not be perfect? (wow, is there anything, literally anything, perfect?) Am I simply procrastinating (and looking for more and more excuses not to start)? Writing this post is a good example 🙂
A possible solution I see: treating the project as a draft, an ‘A-version’, something to later edit and build on. You can’t improve a blank page (again, these words of wisdom are not mine, which means there were others struggling with the same problem, or at least thinking about it). I am in the process of drawing a line between the ‘what’ (the content) and the rest.
I would like to start writing for content, for meaning. Writing being aware that even if no-one would ever read the result, it is worth writing right now (yes, from my subjective point of view). I need to stop thinking about the ambition and the reaction, the response others might have towards the words I am putting on paper. Shifting the focus on the process, rather than results, is probably one way to see it.
Thank you for reading 🙂