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Sunny Summers and Writing Shadows

A young man with a pen


Are you struggling with writing? It's the summer, and you want it to be a productive season. However, in between the warmer weather and cookout invitations, you can’t seem to pick up the pen.

You know what they say, "The hardest part to almost any task is getting started." But you don't want to believe it's true.

Whether you want to write a paragraph, an article, or a novel, the most challenging section is the first sentence.

Before you start, that flashing cursor on the screen can feel like it's cursing you. It doesn't make any noise but provokes you to touch the keyboard.

Creative works don’t often pour out of your brain like water from a faucet. You may have to drag every idea from the corners of your imagination. It’s a chore to think and write cohesive sentences, but you have the mental stamina.

Persistence is fundamental. When it gets difficult, remember the Persian phrase, “This too shall pass.” Everything is temporary.

There will be moments when you want to stop. And for your sanity, the best option may be to take a break.

I have experienced the desire to quit. Some days I can only manage to write a journal entry. On other days, a blog post draft, a paragraph in an article, or an entire book chapter flourishes.

When I am stuck or don’t want to write, I look for distractions.

During this week’s break, I found the story of the 14-year-old teenager charged with murder. His mother ordered him to shoot the man assaulting her at a fast food restaurant on Chicago’s South Side. He shot him once in the back and then again until he died.

After video surfaced of the incident, prosecutors dropped the first-degree murder charges against the boy and his mother. I didn’t watch the video but read comments that defended and criticized the teenager’s actions.

I am not an advocate for violence. However, If I had witnessed my mom getting repeatedly punched in the head, I might have responded similarly in the absence of law enforcement.

Self-defense is not murder. You have the right to defend yourself when your life or a family member is in immediate danger.

Sometimes this happens. Your distractions or breaks lead to more writing.

When it comes to writing, write. It doesn't have to be perfect. You can always revise and edit later.

This process is how most of my writing projects start. I get an idea and then put down whatever comes to my head. By the third, fourth, or fifth time that I visit the piece, I gain clarity.

It can get messy, but chaos often precedes order.

Divide your massive writing project into pieces. Start with an outline and then proceed from that point. Don't aim to finish it in one sitting. Allow ample time for revisions.

Time away from your desk can generate the subconscious perspectives necessary to enhance your prose. Take a walk outside and enjoy the weather. Visit your friends and then get back to work.

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A life was taken, who took it? Who gave the command? Does the gun belong to someone? Does the gun's possessor have a permit? How will age and race play into the resolution? Why is the safety reputation of the South Side of Chicago questioned? Are laws enforced? What will it take to prevent another incident like this from happening again? Why should we care? There are many more questions, Dr. Lindsay. Maybe this could be an essay, a series of articles, a statement of faith even. Please let us hear more thoughts from you about this tragedy. Thank you for all you do for peace and tranquility for south Chicago and the world.

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