The way I write is constantly at odds with how I learned to write and it bugs the hell out of me sometimes. While I can preach and espouse the idea that there is no “right” way, only “ways”, the 3-point paper haunts me every day.
I learned the 3 point paper in Ann Kortman’s Junior English class in 1986 or 87 and it served me well for 30+ years. The gist of the method being:
1. State your point in the intro.
2. Explain your point in the body.
3. Restate your point in the conclusion.
Badda boom badda bing. Done, done and done. Except these days, my writing has taken a turn.
Many mornings I start with an idea about running and by 2 paragraphs in, we are talking about boat shows and the inner workings of tornadoes or some shit. (I’ve never mentioned any of this before).
This go around with writing, I have no grades to achieve and what comes out is what you get. We will start somewhere and end up where we end up. You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.
So where will today take us? I started three different ideas this morning and none of them took. I went to work early and said I’d try again later, hopeful a nugget of something great would come out. Instead I’m just explaining why you aren’t getting anything.
This reminds me of something I’ve told my kids and that I say to others. “the world needs ditch diggers too.” In its literal sense it usually means that college isn’t the only path and that there’s different options out there. It’s come to mean that there’s value in most work and the act of doing it matters.
So that’s why I’m okay with starting somewhere and ending somewhere else. Because the doing is what matters. The digging of the ditch.
Grab a shovel. It’s deeper than I thought.