I’m working on a post, or possible series of posts, about relating with girls who are in high school. I don’t like calling them teens or youth so much, I think mainly because you will hardly ever hear a girl that age call herself a teen or a youth. Only old people call them that. And by old, I mean my aged people.
Anyway, I have this post I’m working on in my drafts and it looks almost finished, but I know it isn’t. There is more to be said, to be thought about and communicated. I wanted the post to be a microwaved dinner and instead it’s turning into a crock pot meal; slow cooked and day-long simmered. So I can’t hit publish yet because it hasn’t cooked enough.
In the past, that would frustrate me. I would want to be able to sit down, work on something, and be done with it. If I couldn’t work it out, it left me feeling dissatisfied and unsettled. Now, though, I have learned to trust my own intuition in writing, and that one sign of a maturing writer is knowing when you are finished. And also, when you aren’t.
Lots of writing is like that. Some ideas come easily and leave the fingers quickly, ready to be shared and discussed. Others develop over time and only with sufficient space and margin. Sometimes ideas that I think will take days to work out come easy and effortlessly, while others, like this post I’m working on about high school girls, turn out to need more time. I don’t ever really know which kind of idea I have until I sit down and start to work on it.
It is that way with all kinds of writing for me: journaling, blog-writing and, as I’ve been discovering in the past few months, book writing as well. When I uncover an idea or a thought that needs time to percolate, I can’t afford to walk away from writing all together and give it space. I have to keep on writing, sometimes leaving gaping holes in my manuscript or a nearly-finished draft in my blog dashboard to be filled in and finished when the time is right.
Writing can’t be forced, but it must be practiced. I can’t force an idea to finish itself, but I can continue to try to work out more ideas. I’ve never experienced writer’s block. I’m not even sure I know what that is. Perhaps it could have to do with a writer who is trying to cook a crock pot idea in the microwave. It won’t come out right and it could even give the impression that you are a lousy cook. And so, you give up for a while. You cannot afford to give up. Move on, yes. But don’t stop. Give it space to breathe, but come back to it. And in the meantime, keep on writing.