One thing the Saturday writing workshop and the three-day summer writing workshop did for me was pause for reflection. The word for it is metacognition or metacognitive analysis. In other words, you think about what you’re doing.
We thought about writing. Why did we write? Why did we want to write? What did we hope to get out of writing?
I think of it as pausing to smell the flowers that you see before they wilt. Take a moment to look around you and admire the beauty. How often do we stop doing what we’re doing to reflect and think about what we’re doing? Or notice what’s around us?
I am always thinking about my purpose for writing and my audience. I don’t write just to write, waste paper and time, and thereby waste some reader’s attention to what I wrote. I think about topics that are worth writing about.
Sometimes writing is an obligation. For instance, I had some time to kill while waiting for dinner the other day. I checked my blog traffic and noticed a decline in activity of late. I felt obliged to write, for continuity sake. I whipped out a short blog post very quickly, something I had always wanted to write about but didn’t have time. I let it brew, fester, and ferment until I had time and the inclination to write it.
I write to remember. “Bookmark this idea!” Usually it’s more like, “don’t forget this moment” or “please don’t forget this experience.”
I write to promote. Concerts require promotion. An announcement is not an invitation. An announcement informs, but an invitation has to do more than inform. The writing has to attract and persuade. It has to be easily found by search engines used by those who are looking for concerts.
I write to thank. Instead of a thank you card or a thank you gift, I write a piece to make my appreciation personal.
I write to practise writing, and often, to get started. It takes practise to write well. A blog is writing that gets published instantly. It is the fastest way to get a reaction and to get found. When I blog, I feel like I’m on stage, and the world is my audience.
I write to process emotions or decisions. When structuring to write, I am also analysing the situation. What is important? What comes first? What follows next? What are my options? What do I want? What should I do? What is it that I’m burdened with? Why?
Enough about writing.
Writing about writing can easily throw me into the trap of thinking about thinking, writing about writing, and never quite do what I have to do.