My student and I were meeting about her piece of writing about an unwieldy subject, full of backstory and memories that span 15 years of her life. We talked about how it might be more helpful to work in smaller parts, not worrying about the whole. Write a scene, a single memory. Describe one room. Or write, at least at first, from the beginning to the end in linear, chronological order, then reordering, chopping, and adding onto it afterwards.
I see what you’re saying, she said to me.
And then she says something else.
“I write about it the way I want to think about it.”
I had to write that down.