Reading & Writing… and Writing Without Reading? (CJ #2)

It is hard to imagine writing without reading…but what happens when reading impairs your ability to write? This is the problem I am currently facing in two dimensions.

First, I constantly reread what I have already written. This is partially driven by my omnipresent brain fog, but also because I am preoccupied with making my writing flow well. The first time. Rationally, I know it is a tall order to write seamless sentences and paragraphs on the first draft…but I hate when my writing is disorganized. In my experience, not taking the time to properly set up my piece just amounts to more work longterm (and more work that I end up needing to cut out entirely).

The second component of this is reading too much information. Every time I begin to write, I realize the infinite things I do not know about the topic. I stress over using the precise words to convey what I am saying, what is culturally appropriate, etc. When I find information that confirms that I can be writing with more precision, we are back at dimension #1 (rereading what I have read and editing it!).

These problems are easily written off as superficial and easily resolved. But I think the underlying problem, I believe, is one of trust and responsibility. Do I trust myself to have already written what I needed to say yesterday, in a way that is still relevant today? Do I trust myself enough to believe I am not writing contradictions? And does my one story carry the weight of everyone affected by it?

There is so much to learn and so little time. But I am trying a new technique where I write a list of the things I do know before I begin writing, and using sticky notes to indicate where I last left off. Not a foolproof method (I have definitely already cheated) but I am hoping the end result might make me a more confident writer. My health is so unpredictable and unruly that I love to exercise power over the small things I can control, instead of trusting that my writing will work itself out!

Please let me know if you have any other suggestions! Thanks for reading 😊

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