Well Begun is NOT Half Done, But It’s a Start


Well begun is not half done.  Not even close.  But it’s a start.

So, there’s been a little writing this week.  A couple small poems started, waiting to see if they lead anywhere. One is a spoken word poem about intrinsic self worth.   Yesterday morning I saw a couple Turkey Vultures on the peak of the barn roof and it made me think about a haiku  –

Two Turkey Vultures

Sitting on the old barn roof

Scan for cat’s dead moles

Yeah, that last line might need a little work, but at least I’m writing something.

I’ve been listening to Ted Talks about storytelling and writing while I work on things that don’t require my full attention this week.  I get all inspired and then when I can actually write, I’m too tired.  It sucks.

Today my goal is a list of everything I want to be doing, in writing, outside and inside the house.  I think it will help me focus on chipping away at my goals.

I’ve also been thinking about how the root of great writing is storytelling.  I grew up with a father who told really great stories about his childhood.  I think that’s part of what got me interested in writing.  I’ve heard of a writing method called the Snowflake method.  Someone told me about it once and the way they explained it, you start by writing down your story as if you were telling it to a friend or a small group at a party, to entertain, then you flesh it out, adding character traits, setting, details, etc.

There’s an ehow on how to write using that method here, but that isn’t the way it was initially explained to me.  I think I prefer the way it was explained to me.  This results in more of a synopsis that you can fill with details.

Overall, I prefer more of an organic method for writing, just starting with an idea and seeing where it leads me.

We looked at a writing method last night in writer’s group that suggested breaking the parts of writing out so that you research at the beginning, then write, then edit, doing things in an exact order.

I personally prefer to research until I reach a sort of escape velocity/ maximum threshold where I have to put pen to paper and start pouring the synthesized ideas out into something new.

One writer pointed out that he prefers to write then see what he needs to know and do the research then.  I suspect it’s a recursive process for most of us and while it’s wise to try not to edit while you’re doing the bulk of your writing, the writing and the research will circle around each other.

So, the light is peaking over the horizon and the writing has begun again.  I don’t feel quite as blocked but it’s building slowly instead of galloping along.  Time for a list and some good old-fashioned elbow grease.


  1. May 18, 2013 at 10:39 am

    I put up a Ted Talk link (Robinson’s presentation) on my home page under Inspiration. The presentations are transformative. I like your account of the writing process. I explain in the recent post on the profile of a successful blogger how I’ll be sliding into a closer look at the process. Writers approach their art each so differently.

    • melorajohnson said,

      May 18, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks! I’ll have a look at your blog. Yes, writer’s processes can be very different. Perhaps that makes for different types of writing that different readers can relate to?

  2. May 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Each writer to his own. I too prefer an organic method of writing, to use your words. I never quite ‘get’ the snowflake method. Which TED talks on storytelling and writing have you watched? I love TED talks, so if you have a few that you recommend, please let me know.

    • melorajohnson said,

      May 19, 2013 at 9:48 am

      Hi Daniel – You can use the “show all tags” command at the bottom of the left hand side of the page to see everything on Storytelling. I particularly enjoyed the ones by Amy Tan, Ann Deavere Smith, Carmen Agra Deedy, Elizabeth Gilbert, Malcolm Gladwell, and Sarah Kay recently. I also remember enjoying, some time ago, Eve Ensler, Karen Thompson Walker, Edwidge Danticat, Eve Ensler, Isabel Allende, and Chimamanda Adichie. Those are the specifically writing and storytelling ones. I also love listening to the science and technology related ones too.

  3. May 20, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    […] first one was Melora Johnson’s reply to my own comment on her post about storytelling. She recommended Amy Tan’s TED Talk, in which Tan, conveniently, talks about the impact of […]

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