About a blog

July 10, 2022

I am sometimes asked how I go about writing my blog.

I usually start writing it on the Wednesday or Thursday before I post the blog on Sunday morning. Typically, I have two or three thoughts that I would like to develop. These thoughts are never grand or inspirational, clever or wise; indeed, they are often very mundane. This week for example I have been pondering two blog thoughts; the first was whether a handwritten “thank you” note would be nicer to send than an equally heartfelt but more immediate email after someone was so wonderfully kind to me; the second thought was to wonder how much time is too much time to sit in front of my laptop before a video call is due to start?

As you can see, this ain’t no revelatory rocket science, but once the idea feels like it might have something to say, then I need a way into writing the blog itself.

I know I must have all the words I will need, but knowing a few hundred words is a bit like owning house bricks without necessarily knowing how to build a home. My way in, is to find the metaphorical door on the idea, because this is the place where the idea starts to come alive as a blog. The door is often a personal reflection that allows me to set a context for the idea. The idea is now an honoured guest to be welcomed into my mind, made to feel at home and offered a comfortable place to sit.

From the initial bare idea to putting the words on a page will take be no more than hour. I write as I speak, and I find myself having a conversation with the idea. Where are the edges of the idea? Where is the meaning I want to uncover? What does the idea want to say?

Then, when this is done, it is time to leave the words alone to gently settle. The blog now has its own existence, but it has not yet found how to stand on its own, so I leave the blog alone for a while because when I return to see how it is getting on, I am confident it will find a way to speak to me in a fuller, rounder and more thoughtful way.

Saturday tends to be the day I return to the blog. My job now is not to rewrite or change too much, but just to bring the messages into focus and to let the colour in the words have their time to shine. My writing is now less about the idea and much more about how the idea can flourish. It is a little like composing a picture and I try to place the idea so that it looks its best. Words become the cushions that support the idea, and the words are the way the idea is lit and the frame we place the idea in. I want the words to let the idea feel relaxed and comfortable for others to see it at its best.

On Saturday evening I load the blog to our website, and then on Sunday morning I read it one more time before I press the publish button. I read it now as you are reading it. It feels like the first time I have seen it and somehow not something I have created. It exits now because the idea wanted to be heard and I had the privilege of giving it a little space.

Of all the blessings in my life, writing is the surest way I have to settle my swirling mind. The dialogue with an idea is a kind of meditation and something I suspect I will always do whether published or not.

The final act of writing any blog is allow it to end gently and to respect the reader’s time.

We are sometimes asked to think big, especially in work. People at an interview will ask us “what is your big idea?” We are encouraged to be innovative and to be comfortable with transformation. However, my blog is about honouring our smallest ideas and giving then a place to be loved and seen. We all know that mountains are a magnificent and monumental landscape, but we also know that the pebbles on a beach offer infinite variety and beauty at our fingertips. Imagine if the thousands of thoughts you have each day are the pebbles on the walk of your life; shouldn’t we make time, sometimes, to pause and to look at them closely? There is such beauty and meaning to notice in each and every one.

Take care. Paul xx

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