Dreaming on Paper

That’s what writing is to me. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing a blog post, a book on management (it’s finally finished!), or a fiction story. It’s all living a dream to me.

I rarely remember my real dreams. I may remember an emotion, a fleeting sense of happiness, or fear. But, what happened and who was in my dream? Rarely. I’m sure my subconscious mind has them all catalogued with a nice roadmap explaining their meaning. Writing lets my conscious mind tap into that reservoir, if only briefly.

It’s truly amazing to me how often I’ve started writing about one thing, and something completely different comes out on the paper (or Word file, as the case may be). Unlike regular dreams, I get to see these paper dreams unfold and take shape. I get to be the first person to read what happens in the story.

There’s something special about stories, whether fiction, non-fiction, or opinion. They are always there, waiting to be told, waiting to teach, waiting to challenge what we believe and know to be true. The writer finds a way to show the stories to us. I love uncovering the story.

Jeff Turner recently wrote a post about his writing and concluded, “I’m writing because I like seeing how my thoughts look as they pass through this medium of writing.  And I like standing at a distance and seeing how they look if you choose to allow them to pass through you.”

I couldn’t agree more. As our thoughts develop and pass through the written form, then into the reader’s mind, they engage, energize, and take on a life of their own.

When I opened my writing up for others to see, I learned, firsthand, the way one’s thoughts are received and shaped by others. Many times, someone will tell me about a connection or message they took from a blog post. The meaning they describe is often a bit different from what I had in mind while writing it. At first, I felt compelled to explain my thought process and help them see the “real” message. I quickly learned how wrong this was. The key was that my writing had caused them to think, to consider their own experience, and ascribe their own meaning. That’s all that mattered. Each person makes their own custom-designed interpretation.

They may also find nothing of value in my writing. They don’t connect with it at all. But, then they make a connection to their own thoughts. They take a moment to listen to themselves. They get to know themselves a little better. I’ll take that as a victory, even if they don’t connect to what I’ve written.

Our lives are filled with activities, schedules, distractions, movement, requirements, and reactions. Most of our own making. Cutting through all of this noise is the truest gift of writing—dreaming on paper.

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