A Storyteller's Process: Annette Hadley

When I approach a new project, whether at home or work, how do I go about doing it?

Jump right in, learn as I go?

Read the manual first?

Somewhere in between?

I've tended to be the jump right in sort. In fact, I used to joke that when you tell me to jump, I'm in the air before I ask "how high?" I've learned, after numerous wasted efforts, that sometimes it's wiser to slow down, see how things unfold.

Going slow also allows for an internal processing to take place.

Still, one thing I know is that, regardless of the nature of the project, I always start with one thing: doing what I know.

In my previous career, as Clinical Strategist for a global healthcare informatics software company, I authored many different types of technical documents as I moved from assignment to assignment.

As long as I had some sort of example, I could take that and off I'd go.

As in to the break room. Really!

Walk around the department, maybe take a walk outside. 

Because what I already knew needed to swirl around with what I was learning, and come together in my mind. Once that was done, I would sit down and type away.

I used to think I was avoiding that particular project until I realised what was happening. That a natural thought process evolved which resulted in quality documents.

I've found the same to be true in writing daily blogs for the last four weeks.

I've basically been writing what I know. And its literary cousin (I just made that up), writing what I notice.

Four weeks ago, when I accepted this 30-day challenge, I tended to write earlier in the day. That has shifted to after dinnertime, which allows me to notice the events and thoughts that come and go throughout the day.

By the time I sit down in the evening to write, it's pretty much already done. In my head. I type the words out, play with them, edit, edit, edit.

Marion Roach, a famous memoirist, observes that the first draft is always the vomit draft.

While the thought of vomiting does not appeal, I do love how that gives me permission to not worry about how good it is straight off…

Though I do believe that much of what bubbles up is spot on. Cheeky me!

Seriously, the truth lies in telling my truths.

I do what I know.