A lot of people ask how I write. I thought I’d offer a little confession in case it helps. I often start with a hazy intuition of what I hope to accomplish by an article, but I ultimately let the process of writing guide me. I find that my best pieces are those in which I enter the article with a spirit of humility, openness, and a thirst for discovery. Usually through the process of writing and putting down a number of different studies all in one place, does a bigger picture emerge. Most of my insights that are at the end of the article only arrived at the very last moment while I started writing that paragraph; the culmination of a nonlinear chain of ideas. Therefore, I put my trust into the writing process, and let evidence and synthesis guide me along. So my recommendation for those scared to write something, or those who are suffering from writers block, is to shed your concerns and just jump into it. Put lots and lots of things down. Trust the process. And remain open to whatever emerges. Not only is that more productive, it’s also just plain more fun. Good luck!
Scott, the way you explain your process is very relatable and insightful. A lot of the people that I ask about writing advice seem to say something in the lines of “jump in” or “just do it”. I never quite got what this mean, because to trust the process, in your words, is somewhat of a perennial difficult thing to do. But it’s the only way.
I also agree that sometimes insight comes at the very last moment, in a “nonlinear chain of ideas”! Finally, I have never thought of being humble when I write. I somehow think that every writer is boasting–but with good intent. Most of the time. And yet, like you say, I think that such a pursuit is the proper spirit, and of course, we need to maintain a thirst for discovery. Thank you so much for this enlightening blog. -wd