Scanning the Trees: An attempt to have more fun writing

Photo by Tyler Forest-Hauser

This is what happens before I hit publish on a post:  I read or see or hear something that I can’t get out of my mind — a photo or piece of art work, a turn of phrase, an idea argued by someone who I disagree with or an idea I believe in that someone finally articulated — and I roll it around in my mind as I go about my life for days.  I find a way to approach the idea spontaneously, usually during that time when I’m half asleep and half awake; I’m in between the dream world and real world.  I start writing it out in my Morning pages (Julia Cameron’s creative tool.  If you don’t know anything about it, I recommend finding out more about it here) even before I get out of bed.  I do research.  I write a rough, rough draft with pen and paper.  I type another draft.  If the draft is 1000 words or longer, I’ll print out 2 or 3 drafts and edit them.

It’s exhausting.  And comforting.

I like taking time to contemplate and to try to get as deep and honest as I can on a topic.  I love the editing process.  As Gloria Steinem said, “I do not like to write — I like to have written.”  I love the feeling after having bashed a piece out and I can start cutting, simplifying, clarifying.  I love to pay attention to the details — punctuation, misspellings, and fixing mistakes in logic.  I love reading something I wrote and catching a phrase that doesn’t sound right when I read it out loud.

Eventually, I want to just be the editor of a blog that is a reflection on my sensibility.  You may be wondering “What makes you think you can be an editor?”  Valid question.  I have no experience or training.  Yet, I think I’d be great at it and I’m not going to wait for permission to do it.

Editing allows me to do what I really love more than anything — reading.

But I still want to work on my writing.  Stephen King wrote “when you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees.  When you’re done you have to step back and look at the forest.”  I love spending time looking at the forest but I want to spend more time scanning and identifying of the trees.  No — I want to have more fun looking at the trees.  So, I’m going to spend less time looking at the forest.

I’m going to post everyday for the next week.  I don’t know when or how or on what.  It’s scary. I’ve avoided it because I’m afraid every post will be a rant — angry, repetitive, frivolous rants. Rants are fun to write and read, but not everyday.  I’m afraid to deviate from my posting schedule.  I’m afraid I won’t have anything to write and some days I may not, but I will post something.

I’m going to respond to whatever comes up and just write.

It’s exciting.  Like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute is “exciting”.  I want to fail, make mistakes and messes, and get comfortable doing it.

I’m going to “write from (my) gut and let the stuff stay flawed” as Louis C.K. advised.  We’ll see what happens.



4 thoughts on “Scanning the Trees: An attempt to have more fun writing

  1. Hi MM… Sounds like you want to play spontaneously with words….sharing without such “marinating” too long….care free. I like your writing, your insight…..any way, any day. Have fun…your in good hands. I too like Maria Hill, Ane Axford and Karla McLaren… name just a few. I’m so thankful for writers like you…..authors and animals and art have been my faithful companions most of my life. Let it flow……


  2. Melene, I hope that you never stop sharing your thoughts and putting them in writing. I liked reading about the trees. It’s very comforting and uplifting in a quiet,yet strangely powerful way. I noticed that the photographer of the forest has the last name of Forest-Hauser. That’s interesting.. has a talent for photographing forests, and whose name is Forest-Hauser.


    1. I forgot about this post. Thanks for reminding me of it. I love that photograph by Forest-Hauser. I’m not sentimental about much but I am about trees.
      I hope I can keep writing and sharing too. As long as I have readers like you I will. — MM


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