I’ve been doing a lot of writing recently. A few different projects – some work related, others not. And when I say I’ve been doing a lot of writing, what I mean is that I’ve been doing fairly small amounts of writing quite often.
I hop between projects and even between writing locations so that each small piece of writing feels like a fresh thing, and something that only takes a little of my time.
‘A little and often’ has sort of become my catchphrase.
But what I’ve found along the way is not only that fairly obvious thing about how it all quickly adds up (more than you’d even think), but also, more interestingly, that the pieces fall together.
By that, I mean that the writing takes on an unexpected shape, and the fragments of writing, when you come back to them, all seem to slot together well in a way that you might not have been anticipating, but which gives the finished product a far more interesting and complex tone.
More than that, it reveals hidden patterns. Recurring themes. There are a couple of things that I’ve written recently – including today – where I have discovered that the thing I was writing was not about the thing I thought I was writing about – but rather, something far more satisfying. Less obvious. More useful.
I think what happens is between bursts of writing, your brain processes stuff in the background. Finds threads. Makes connections. And then, perhaps while you sleep, it joins the dots.
It’s always quite pleasing to read back over your work and find out what it’s for and what it seems to be saying. And then, with a little rewriting and polish, you can make it look like that’s what you meant to do all along.