by Nancy Casey
“If I only knew…” That might be one of the most frequently spoken phrases in the English language.
Even when we think we know a lot, we always run into situations that might have turned out a lot less complicated if we had known more.
That can lead us to put pressure on ourselves about not knowing enough. We notice other people who seem to grasp so much more than we do. We forget that everybody knows a lot. We forget to notice how different people know different things.
We also forget that what we know will always be tiny compared to what we don’t know. This goes for everybody. The things we’ll never know will always outweigh the things that we do know.
Today, in your writing, celebrate all the things that nobody will ever know. Begin every sentence with the phrase, “Nobody will ever know…”
Here are some ways you can think about that:
- There are many things in nature that nobody can know. How many worms? How much do all the fish weigh? People can guess, but nobody can say for certain.
- Zillions of details from the past and from the lives of people who are no longer alive will never be known again. The colors of certain walls. Somebody’s favorite gloves.
- All day, every day, famous and ordinary people are thinking thoughts that nobody else will ever know.
- What kinds of things will we never know about the reality of a dog, a raven, or a rock?
We work hard to learn things. We want to know more. So we have to look at the world a little bit inside-out to concentrate on how much will never be known. Try to imagine that inside-out world as you slowly write, “Nobody will ever know…” Write down whatever pops into your head.
When you have finished writing, give your work a title. Be sure you have put the date on it somewhere as well. Here is an example of what a person could write.
Share Your Writing by Nancy Casey
The goal of “Write for You” is to give you ideas for using writing to make your life better in some way. It’s for you. That means that as long as you have some kind of a writing practice and write things that are pleasing and informative to you, you are succeeding. What makes it pleasing to you? What does it inform you about? You are the only one who can answer questions like that. The answers might turn out to be quite private.
At the same time, as you get more practice and start developing confidence in yourself, you might realize that others would find your writing interesting. You can decide to let others read it.
Here are some things to keep in mind about sharing your writing:
- It’s natural to want to ask, “Is this any good?” You can answer that yourself! Yes, it’s good. If you like it, it’s good. Could you make it better? Maybe, if you feel like it. For now it’s good enough.
- There’s a nervous rush of exposure that comes with sharing your writing. It’s normal to want people to say things that are reassuring to you. You hope for reactions that make you glad you shared the writing. The fact is, however, people usually don’t know what to say to someone about their writing, so don’t set your expectations about other people’s reactions too high.
- Silence can be a very positive reaction, even though it feels awkward. It means the person is thinking. No matter what they say or don’t say, your writing made them think.
- Make sure your writing practice remains something that you do for yourself. Continue to write with the intention of keeping the work private. Don’t think about sharing it until after it’s written. When you do share something, you can always change it to make it less private.
This blog has now stored up a year’s worth of weekly writing exercises that anyone can do at any time. Maybe you have done them all. Or some of them. Maybe you are about to start doing them now. If you would like to share what you’ve written for any of those exercises, you can put it in the comments section for that exercise in one of three ways:
- Simply type it into the comments box.
- Copy something you have typed a computer and paste it into the comments box.
- Take a picture of what you have written and paste it into the comments box.
I have been using the third method. I take a picture of my writing each week and add it to this webpage. But that’s just mine. It would be more interesting to see yours.
Here is the list of all the exercises you could do. It would be nice to see what you wrote. Many thanks in advance to anyone who takes the trouble to share their work!
Before you dive into all the possibilities for sharing your writing, take a few moments to ground yourself with your writing practice. Get ready to write a page that is just for yourself. Settle in with your writing materials and look around you. Describe what you see. Start with the things that are closest to you and work your way out.
Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. She has taught writing classes at the Recovery Center and will return again in the spring of 2018. You can find more of her work here. If you would like her help with a writing project, large or small, email email@example.com for more information.