Just Write It

A couple of weeks ago, a new friend of mine presented me with the three words that may resonate in my inner being longer than any other words ever have or probably will in the future: Just Write It.

So simple, so elegant and so precisely to the point that you simply can’t miss the thousand-word implications that these three words convey. Whether you write on paper or on a computer, write to share or write to save, write to practice or write to learn, write to tell or write to teach, it doesn’t really matter because none of the things you’re about to gain from this undertaking will come to be unless you damn well write it first.

One of the problems I’ve been dealing with in recent times is over-thinking things and wanting to refine things in mind before constructing them in tangible ways.

That just doesn’t work[1].

This problem was particularly prevalent in my blogging habits: I have about upwards of 30 ideas for big blog posts written down as Mail.app Notes, some with half the post written out in advance even. This all started out as an email thread to myself, for the simple fact that Mail.app didn’t yet have Notes when I started doing this.

In case your Mac OS X release map didn’t just spring to mind (really?), that means I’ve been doing this since before OS X Leopard was released, which was October 26, 2007.

Do you know how many of those ideas came to fruition as published blog posts?

Two.

In other words, my approach was fundamentally flawed, and I didn’t fully understand the nature of its flaws until those three words were imprinted on my brain: Just Write It.

It took one more thing to fully immortalize in my very being, though: remembering Shawn Blanc’s interview with John Gruber (of Daring Fireball fame). In that interview, John spoke about finding his own writing voice and honing it; this was crucial for me to remember as I myself am trying to find my own writing voice, now that I have started this new blog somewhat recently with a more personal focus than my old one.

The combination of the three titular words and John’s bit about honing and finding your writing voice led to the conclusion that was not going about it the right way at all. I was trying to figure out my writing voice in my head, or put another way, what I was doing was really just working on my thinking voice and deluding myself that it was a good effort towards my writing voice.

Sometimes the obviousness of my mistakes just hits me so hard that I can’t help but smile at my own ineptitude. But, at least I smile with strengthened conviction and dramatically increased clarity of mind, formulating sentences and catch phrases in my head for the blog post wherein I solidify both my mistake and my progress.

And from now on, what follows after that step is that I just write it.

  1. Not even with Philosophy.

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