1. Get down all of your thoughts, as fast as you can. Write in all caps if you have to. Punctuate! Underline. Scribble it on the coffee receipt, the bank statement. Get it down, in as much detail as time allots. Save it. Keep it.
2. Find it a few days later, in the bottom of your trench or in an email sent to yourself, from yourself. Scratch your head. Attempt to decipher the person you were the moment you wrote it. Try to remember where you were; what was happening. Fail completely.
3. Recognize that you’re a different person today. Crumple it. Start over.
4. Write down something else, something you see that needs to change; something that you’re learning about or struggling with or figuring out or attempting to understand.
5. Ask questions. Answer those questions. Create theories. Explain yourself. Use a metaphor, something to grab onto. Try a smell, or a sight, or a sound. Make it personal. Avoid the temptation to delete a metaphor that you think doesn’t make sense to anyone other than yourself. (Someone else gets it. Someone else gets you.)
6. Finish writing furiously. Wring it out, every last word.
7. Save it. Read it. Slowly. Slower. Take a walk; come back. Edit the unnecessary.
8. Delete “you.” Replace with “us.”
9. Delete “me.” Replace with “we.”
10. Save. Publish. Pray.
Image Credit: Erika Raxworthy