Write in the oblique way

And here is my problem: a blank screen to fill. If you wish to write every day, you need a way to deal with the blank page. What is the plan? What do I want to say today? What point should I make? What is my blueprint?

I am still accustomed to a direct approach: first the plan, then the work. But this approach often makes you waste your time and energy. You are laboriously preparing a plan, and when you have it, you are so exhausted that you can do nothing else. The best energy was used for something not breeding any result. Even if you would still have the strength to act often occurs that your plan was deficient: it didn’t take into consideration important aspects, it was too complicated, too impractical, too shallow, etc.

Instead of the direct approach, you can use the indirect or oblique approach. John Kay in book “Obliquity” writes:

When faced with a task that daunts you, a project that you find difficult, begin by doing something.

Do something that seems potentially relevant to the task. Do not wait for inspiration. Do not lose time on planning and preparing. Do not waste energy on elaborating and forecasting. Just start doing something minor, and during it have eyes wide open. What is of importance, what you really need to do, will show up.

Don’t wait with the blank page for the complete blueprint. Start filling it word by word. I call this “exploratory writing”. The main purpose is to discover what I want to write about. Usually, after it, in the next iteration I trim, add, change and strengthen. Just as with this text, written entirely with the oblique approach.