Shut Up and Say Something

By: Michael Gyarmathy

My head is full of ideas, but very few of them ever materialize into something substantial. The greatest hurdle I face whenever I want to write about something is convincing myself that I can give the idea enough justice. I’m an advocate for my thoughts, and I want to allow others to experience them as if they were their own.

Writing about your personal life is a process that involves deep internalization, extracting the tidbits of purpose and significance from your thoughts and experiences and making those things the emphasis of your work. Written communication needs structure. Otherwise, the words get muddied into a mess of confusion and you don’t get your point across.

Ben Stuart, executive director of Breakaway Ministries at Texas A&M University, says this:

“Communication is a risk because there is a chance you’ll be misunderstood.”

And it’s true — you can’t ever simply just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind or there’s a good chance that it won’t make sense.

But I think that this only applies to verbal communication. With written communication, there’s always room for iteration and refinement. Reword that phrase, move that sentence over there, condense that thought.

When I sit down to write, I’m challenging myself to say the first thing that comes to mind and allow the stream of consciousness to continue to flow.

Writing is almost like cooking — sometimes you’ve got to let the words simmer in the pan for a little while before you stir and flip them around.

Let the raw words come first. You’ll capture the sweet candidness of the thought, and the structure of your ideas will follow. In the end, you’ll have something more genuine than if you’d thought everything all the way through.

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