Knowing when to tip over or How I plan to write more this year. Tuesday’s Tip

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

— RAY BRADBURY, Zen in the Art of Writing

entering the overflow

Hilary Dotson “entering the overflow” (, accessed : 2 Jan 2013), Creative Commons Attribution

I do a lot of research and find a lot of cool documents and stories. I’ve put them together in some sort of random order or even some deliberate order.

I’ve found mistakes in others work and “ah ha”‘ed when I’ve discovered the truth.

I’ve rejoiced when I’ve put pieces together on my own that have proved some conclusion that I dared hoped was right.

But you know what I don’t do? I don’t write it all up and publish it anywhere for anyone to learn, question or comment on it. Well at least not often enough.  (Go ahead.  Raise your hand if you too are guilty.  I can’t believe I am the only one.)

Resolved for 2013: Do a bit more tipping. Do a bit more overflowing.  Let the beautiful stuff out.

What I find, I write up.

It doesn’t have to be brilliant. Or even right.

But if I don’t write it down, and don’t let others review, poke and prod, then I’m going to miss a lot. And a whole lot of my ancestor’s stories aren’t going to be told.

And that is the point.  Not to let the people who came before me be forgotten.

9 thoughts on “Knowing when to tip over or How I plan to write more this year. Tuesday’s Tip

  1. miranda709

    This is a beautifully put together post. The quote by Bradbury, the photo, and the whole concept of doing a bit more “tipping.” Very aesthetic!

  2. J H

    When I see that someone has entered misinformation about one of my ancestors I contact them and give them my information. I’ve “met” distant cousins of my own and also family members of my husbands. Have been able to fill in the blanks for a few people.

  3. Jacqi Stevens

    Anne, I’ve been so grateful for the ability to blog because that’s been the most streamlined way for me to write down all that stuff that you mentioned–the things we’ve discovered, the details we’ve noticed, the thoughts we’ve had while on the journey. What’s even better? The built-in search engine capabilities that allow others to find those writings and come join us on that journey.

    As Miranda mentioned, beautiful post today!

  4. Michelle Ganus Taggart

    I love the way that you expressed this thought. I’ve wanted to do a big project like a family book, but haven’t been able to motivate myself to do it. Blogging some of my stories is helping me take things a bite at a time and see that just maybe I can do it.

  5. Susan D.

    How I agree – I have a large number of titles in my Drafts folder – often no more than titles, about research and stories I intend to write up “sometime” – the inteniton now is THIS YEAR! Watch this space!

  6. Kay Gregory-Clark

    Great motivation and thinking about sharing. I do take issue, though with this statement:
    “Or even right.” PLEASE don’t post anything that is not “right” unless you make it very, very clear. I’ve been frustrated when discovering MISinformation, and I, like JH, used to try to make the corrections—until they became too numerous. I still at least try to comment on census reports where I have a correct spelling of a name, etc.

    1. Anne Gillespie Mitchell Post author

      I never knowingly publish anything that I know to be wrong. However, we all make mistakes. My statement “or even right” was about proposing theories and then thinking them through. There is a difference between publishing as fact and publishing a theory.

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