Strong beginnings and meaningful ends.
I cheated. I tried to be clever by leaving my future self a note on something interesting to write about. And I failed. When I wrote that leading sentence it probably made sense and I was sure I could write about something that is interesting to me. But the moment has clearly past now and the inspiration I had then is lost in the ripples of activity of my brain cells. I tried to plan and this was the one thing I didn’t want to be doing with this exercises. I’m trying to write about whatever comes to mind. But I can’t help myself, I like lists and planning and objectives I never seem to complete. Maybe it’s what I need to keep on going and doing things. Maybe it’s why I keep buying books before I’ve finished reading the ones I have. Maybe I’m just trying to find meaning in something that doesn’t. Maybe this is just the result of patterns that I’ve slowly but steadily ingrained in my brain.
Nevertheless, trying to find a strong beginning and a meaningful end in anything I write is one of those great tasks I keep striving for. Maybe this is why I left a note to my future self. How can I achieve an impactful beginning that makes you, dear reader, want to continue reading to the next sentence? How can I then keep that drive up to the next one? And how can I somehow summon your attention to reach the end of what I am trying to say while actually saying it? I really enjoy when I find an author that successfully pulls this off. But finding that perfect ending and that gripping beginning is not easy and doesn’t happen in the first try. I guess you can set yourself a hook to start writing. Write a shitty first draft. Trust in that fleeting moment of inspiration. But to make it work I need to rewrite and spend time thinking about whether this works here or that works there. Would I keep reading? Is the main point shining through? Does the last word make the main point linger? I just tried to make it happen on the fly, but the truth is that in the last question I had to stop and think, searching for words in the depths of my wrinkled brain, to find really nothing that works on the first go.
This post is part of a series of exercises that will accompany me during thesis writing. You can find them all in the “Archive of first drafts“. The only goal is to write anything in the span of 10 minutes, with minimal planning and editing. If you read this at all, say hi, writing can be lonely. If you have any tips, experiences, or memories that you feel like sharing or may help fellow writers, drop a comment below or DM me, you never know who can benefit from it.