This morning, when I sat to do this little writing practice of mine, I was at lost. Many thoughts and ideas were floating in my mind, but nothing was carrying that spark I needed to begin writing.
It happens, more often than I’d like. Over the years, I’ve learned that the biggest mistake I can make is to indulge in this wandering of the mind, waiting for the right idea to start. More often than not, I get even more lost.
In these cases, what I do is to take anything and being writing. Usually, it is a recent memory such as a fact, a conversation or something I read.
This time, I decided to start from a little story my fellow coach Ian McKechnie told me yesterday.
It’s the story of a small group of Hungarian soldiers who got lost in the Alps during the First World War. After three days of heavy snow, they were giving any hop to make it back to the camp where the rest of the troop was. They were desperate but then, of them find a map in his pocket. With renewed hope and energy, they followed the map and made it back to the camp. When their lieutenant asked to see the map, he discovered that it was a map of the Pyrenees. Having a map, even if a wrong one, was enough to calm them down, so they were able to think more clearly and, most importantly, to take action.
Two things happened this morning when I found this story in my pocket.
The first is that I started writing, and even if I didn’t know how to use the story, I ended up with a new post.
The second thing is that while searching for some information about the story, I discovered this fantastic article, that I’m going to read in full later, on the rhetorical power of anecdotes and how easy it is to twist a story when it doesn’t fit our thesis.
If you don’t know where to start, check your pockets.