April Jeppson: How do I come up with this each week?
Published 8:45 pm Friday, August 25, 2023
Every Little Thing by April Jeppson
I had someone ask me how I come up with my topics each week. That is a great question that I don’t really have a solid answer for. Well I mean, I can tell you, but it’s not going to be quick. My best guess? It’ll take me between 450-650 words to explain.
There are some weeks where I know exactly what I want to write about. There was a specific conversation or incident during the week, and I’m just dying to get it out. However, most of the time I sit down at my computer and think, “Hmmm what should I talk about today?”
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I’ll try and remember what I did during the week. I may scroll through photos or text messages to see if anything jumps out at me. Sometimes 30 seconds is enough to remind me of something noteworthy. Often I get distracted by other tasks I need to accomplish. I’ll come back 20 minutes or two hours later and ask myself the question again. This may end up with me writing about the very thing that was “distracting.” More than once I’ve asked another person for suggestions.
When I think I’ve figured it out, I begin typing. The first sentence turns into the first paragraph. If my mind doesn’t take over and continue, I’ll go back and reread what I’ve written. At this point I’m sometimes guided into a different direction. I felt like I should talk about how great my weekend was, but then somehow I end up writing 500 words about something that occurred on Tuesday.
As I continue to tap away on the keyboard, there are moments of fluidity and moments of deep thought. Sometimes I have to reread the beginning because I’m not sure if I’m staying on track or if I need to delete the entire first paragraph. I’ve deleted many first paragraphs once I realize the bulk of my story has nothing to do with the beginning. I’ve also taken those three to four sentences and put them further down into the article where I felt it made more sense.
My mind can be so sporadic that I want to make sure you can clearly follow my train of thought. As I’m talking to people face to face, I can tell when I’m losing them. When I’ve jumped too quickly into the next thought, there’s a universal look that I’m all too familiar with. However, when you are in the comfort of your home or wherever you are, I have no way of knowing if you’re still following me. So in an attempt to provide an easier intake experience, I read and reread my articles several times to hopefully catch all the literary bumps. I don’t charge extra for this service, it’s included in your subscription.
Once I feel like I’m getting close to an appropriate length, I check my word count. It’s usually at this time I need to find a way to wrap it up. I’ll read through my entire document hoping that a natural finish comes to mind. Most of the time I’m lucky … However I have read outloud to many friends hoping for some insights.
On a good day, I can write an article in less than 30 minutes. Most days it takes a few hours from start to finish when you factor in all the (sometimes welcome) distractions. I can still say that after all these years, I still enjoy it. It provides me with a creative outlet. It challenges my mind in a different way, and although some days it’s tough, I know it’s good for me. Oh wow — things that are difficult to do but are good for us. Now there’s something I should have written this article about!
Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.