Writing Well Lesson #2: Begin with the end in mind

I end my day by making a to-do list of the things I need to do the following day, from appointments like a overdue doctor’s appointment or a business meeting, to daily reminders like exercise (Yes, I need to remind myself that it is part of my day) or drinking medicine, to random tasks like to call somebody or reply to comments on my blog. Every time I fail to make my to-do list, I get derailed from the things that really need my time and laser-sharp focus.

Case in point, while writing this blog post, I got distracted by the pile of dishes and bottles on the sink, which were soaked in warm soapy water to thoroughly remove the oil from the surfaces and I also remembered that I need to drink a cup of caffeine before my exercise routine. See? Maybe it’s how technology has affected my attention span or I have developed a case of ADHD. Go figure.

And what do day-before to-do lists remind me of writing?

William Zinsser offered another persistent piece of advice to writers like me, who want to improve their craft. Highly effective Stephen Covey said it best with these words: “Begin with the end in mind” Yes, Mr. Zinsser says that you have to know clearly what you want to convey in your writing (not your readers…as you do write for yourself and not for anybody else).

The question, I think, I should always ask myself before typing away would be: “What images, feelings, thoughts I want to be immortalized in my words?” I’d like to think I’ve been successful in some blogposts like my favorite post about my toilet adventure at Bento-ya, but there are just times when a million and one thoughts muddle my brain and I can’t pin down what I want to write…

I actually have some food adventures under my sleeve, but I can’t figure out what to make of it. No end in mind, so no blog post about it just yet.

What end did I have in mind for this post? Well, just a friendly reminder to myself of what I need to drill into my writing brain for the next days until I finish this Project 365 ;-)

Daydreaming delicious,