What I Know Wednesday is a bi-weekly round-up of thoughts, ideas and recommendations from the desk of Leah Jarvis. The best advice for writing is to write what you know. This is what I know. . .
Just Start Writing
If you Google “How to write,” a dozen variations of the following three quotes pop up.
“Just start writing.”
“The draft can be fixed, but first it needs writing.”
“Write the Ugly First Draft.”
While that advice is true — you will have written something if you just start writing — it’s more difficult than that. At least to me.
Writing requires me to organize my thoughts in a world full of distractions. On my desk right now I count at least a dozen distractions within arm’s reach. My calendar, my coffee, three books, my Kindle with several abandoned books, my phone, a bill I need to pay, a note I need to sign, and a plant that needs some water. It’s hard to organize my thoughts when the world — and my desk — feels so disorganized. How can I possibly form a sentence, a paragraph, a story with a logical sequence when there are so many things vying for my attention from the moment I wake up.
Writing requires me to say something. . . and have something to say. It’s much easier to lurk around online consuming information without verbalizing a stance on anything. Just take a look at Facebook or Instagram. And while I don’t think that this notion that everyone can have thoughts and opinions about my thoughts and opinions is anything new, it definitely feels more volatile now as if it’s easier to cut an arm off than extend an olive branch with someone who holds a different opinion or belief.
So why do it? Why spend hours and energy trying to get the pain and joy and confusion and clarity down on paper? Why wrestle with the inner dialogue saying the work is terrible and doesn’t mean anything? Because I love it. Because on my darkest days, I still have something to say. Because my story is unique and powerful and small and trivial all at the same time. Because one day, someone will read my words and think, “I thought I was the only one.”
Is Infinity Really Just Beyond?
It feels like part of my new job description is going to see movies. And I’m not mad about it. I’ve seen three movies in the theater in the past month, and I think I maybe saw three movies in the theater total in 2017 and 2018.
I went to see Toy Story 4 on Sunday morning after a run, and I have conflicted feelings about it. I know, I know, I have conflicted feelings about something? Brand new information.
On one hand, I wholeheartedly believe that Disney is just out to make every dime they can off my generation. First getting our parents with all of the classic animated films of my childhood, then remaking them as live-action movies or adding sequels and prequels as we’ve grown into adults. And with Toy Story 4, I felt that it was unnecessary. I loved that Bo got her moment to shine, but did we really need to pick at the wound that just healed over from the incinerator scene in Toy Story 3? Probably not.
On the other hand, I am here for Pixar’s artists and creative team showing off what they’ve learned in the past 24 years. Insider released a video detailing the differences in animation quality in the first Toy Story to this one and did a deep dive into what animators studied to create the magical worlds of Andy’s bedroom, Nemo’s harbor, and Lightning McQueen’s racetrack. Spoiler alert: this non-physicist will not be getting a job at Pixar anytime soon.
Overall, the movie was heartwarming and funny, and I was inspired by the idea that Disney could make billions of dollars on a toy made from trash. What idea can I come up with and market like that?
“You have to simply love writing, and you have to remind yourself often that you love it.”— Susan Orlean
What I’m. . .
- Reading: a friend’s manuscript that will be a real, in-store book next summer
- Listening To (book): Tomorrow There Will Be Sun (meh)
- Listening To (podcast): The Copywriter’s Club episode on being a highly sensitive entrepreneur; and Every Little Thing’s episode that asks if cussing makes you stronger
- Cooking: Lemon Garlic Chicken to top a salad with almonds and strawberries
- Baking: My nephew’s birthday cake!
- Knitting: Committing to one hour a day on Kevin’s fisherman sweater so that maybe he can wear it this winter