Cover The Canvas

This is a comment by Sebastian Berns on my Morning Pages article:

In reference to your conclusion (Last words):
Heinrich von Kleist wrote about that in «Über die allmähliche Verfertigung der Gedanken beim Reden», explaining that the flow of spoken words does form and conclude one’s thoughts. I believe, this is easily transferable to writing.

But what is your experience with writing for publishing? Because in that case, I guess, you have the objective to explain something specific. Is this kind of mindset different from the Morning Pages?

Dear Sebastian,

Thank you for your comment. The Heinrich von Kleist reference is really interesting. And yes, I think it’s very true.

When it comes to writing for publishing (or producing any “real” work) my process is actually quite the same in the beginning. I try to stick to a strategy I learned from an article by Steven Pressfield in which he talks about the importance of “covering the canvas”, a metaphor getting something out of your head, regardless of “correctness”, or “value”. The canvas of course can be anything: a new text document, an empty page in a notebook, a morning in the gym, …

So there is a similarity to the Morning Pages in the sense that I try to ignore the “worrying” part of the brain at this stage of creation. I don’t really care about correctness, I just keep on writing, trying to get everything out of the head at first, worrying about things as structure when I’m editing later. I guess it’s often a good tactic to separate the actual creation from the “official part”, the editing.

For me this idea is a clever hack to get started. After all, this is the most important thing and always the hardest part. Or as Aristoteles put it: “The beginning is half of the whole”.

I hope this answers your question.