Ready or Not, Here I Come: The Internal Game of Hide and Seek ~ Kris Drew
Hold on, wait a minute, what’s today’s date? There is an essay due when? Tomorrow at midnight? I could have sworn I had at least one more day before it was due! Ugh! I quickly scan through the course announcements and emails and wonder how I failed to remember this information. Here goes another long night of the organized chaos I call my writing process. It starts off like the game of hide and seek, where I am the one hiding. I strategically locate the most secure places to hide or reasons to delay the inevitable during this initial phase of the game, but regardless of my crafty attempts to elude, I am forced to face the reality of being found. In my mind I hear the seeker, or deadline, counting down loudly as it prepares to begin its search. Ten, nine, eight, seven, six and so on followed by the dreaded, Ready or Not, Here I Come!
The second phase of my writing involves a role reversal and this is where the chaos begins. Plymouth State University college writer, Kate Burgess, states in her blog, “I’m a bit of a scatterbrain at first, but my mind settles eventually, like a snow globe”, to describe her initial process. I can definitely relate to this description. This is usually when my ability to be creative, or form the thoughts needed to begin writing, are the ones hiding and I become the seeker. I search high and low, for what seems an eternity, to gather my thoughts to develop a plan and thesis for the assignment. This hideous task requires meticulous inspection of every possible nook and cranny to locate the thoughts and ideas needed to begin writing. Every thought or idea I locate is documented on a word document to ensure they don’t run off and hide again. The light on my desk takes on the resemblance of a spotlight pointing off into a dark forest searching for someone lost. There is no home base in this stage of the game, only the completion of the assignment before the deadline. The search continues.
Once I am able to find the ideas needed to move forward in the process, I review the list and attempt to organize them. But wait, there is now a separate game of hide and seek going on with thoughts of what my title should be or which angle I should approach the topic with. I attempt to hide from that separate game and focus on organization. I begin with very simple questions; who, what, when, where, and why. I then proceed with questions that require a deeper response like what if, why not, and how as I seek to structure an outline and begin writing a rough draft.
I usually start with writing the introduction. Where is that hook I was looking for? Oh, there it is. At times the hook requires more searching, but I find it hard to proceed if I don’t locate it first. This also helps me focus on the main theme of the assignment and sheds light on the separate search for a title going on simultaneously. Depending on the topic, I then proceed to constructing the body and conclusion. If all the needed information, sources, and ideas have been located, this phase is much smoother and quicker than the beginning.
What time is it? I have to get up for work in five hours, time to go hide from the assignment until tomorrow afternoon. During the next day the internal game continues. My thoughts on what I’ve written so far search endlessly for resolution most of the day, time for a new hiding spot. Fast forward to 7pm. Time to come out and stop hiding. I become the seeker again as I work to review and revise the assignment, then submit. The internal game is over for now, well until the next deadline begins its countdown. A bit dramatic I know, but hey, I’m playing hide and seek with myself, remember? Come out, come out, wherever you are!
(word count: 677)