HACK / MAKE

When You Think You’re Done

I was reading Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones this afternoon and came across a part that matched an idea that came out of me a few weeks ago.

Here’s what I wrote in Tips on Writing And How They’re Really Just Tips on Life:

Write past the first logical close. I’ve been trying to push myself to go deeper in the things I write. If I have a clear idea, it often can be straightforward to lay that idea out and wrap it up. But I try to not just end there. I don’t let myself stop where it at first feels comfortable because I know—with a little more of the clackity noise—some bigger, greater ideas may just fall out onto the page. Sometimes they don’t and I just delete the extra crap that came out, but more often than not, what I end up with is much better.

And this is what Natalie Goldberg had to say, originally written in 1986, which I read today:

Push yourself beyond when you think you are done with what you have to say. Go a little further. Sometimes when you think you are done, it’s just the edge of beginning. Probably that’s why we decide we’re done. It’s getting too scary. We are touching down onto something real. It is beyond the point when you think you are done that often something strong comes out.

I’m sharing this not as a way to validate my idea, which obviously now wasn’t original, but to tell you there’s something inside of you that is connected to a universal truth. There are insanely great moments and creations inside of you that you need to dig to find. When you find them, you will recognize that they are a part something bigger and wonder where they came from. Your job is not to answer that question of their origin but to discover those truths and then share them.

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