When Writing Can Damage Your Writing
Where Ideas Come From
More than anything, this is a note to self. I’m been trying to be more “present” and take advantage of moments, rather than size up everything I experience and weigh it against my long-term goals. Of course I have no intention of throwing away my long-term goals, but I’ve lived too long with with just the end in sight and it’s put me in a state of mind where I’m not living in the present, and I’m not living in the future. I’ve resigned myself to limbo and it’s time to move on.
I want to learn the very best in writing tools and techniques, but there comes a point where writing becomes damaging. Think about the books, movies and stories you love. They came from someplace. Not just from great ideas that the author thought up, but from things that they have experienced in life. From conversations with friends, anger with their parents or siblings, the death of a loved one, school, work, vacations, etc. Stories can be just as much of a reaction, commentary, catharsis, or escape as they are a book or a movie.
Stories come from a combination of life experiences and writing know-how, and there comes a point when writing can be more damaging to your work than good. I know the hunger that comes with wanting to know and learn more, and it can be addicting, like a writer’s high. There’s a time and a place for focusing only on writing, but I’m starting to learn a little bit more about the creative process and how it works.
The Writing Muscle
Imagine that the parts of your brain used for writing are a single muscle. Muscles cannot be lengthened or moved, but they can grow and become stronger. When building stronger biceps, for example, the bulk of building comes from resting the muscle during a period of recovery. When the muscles have been pushed to new heights and are allowed to rest, the tissues begin to tear and rebuild stronger muscles.
How many times do we hear stories of authors that have their big breakthroughs come to them during a morning shower, or a trip to the restroom? I know that I’ve gotten some of my favorite ideas while I was out walking, or riding my bike, or talking with friends. There’s really something to be said about the time between writing. It gives our minds a chance to let ideas settle and fall into place.
The Time Between Writing
My natural inclination is to just keep pushing until I get the results I want. In my writing, I want to write through whatever my writing problems might be, until I arrive at a brilliant solution; but, unless I am living life in between my writing, then I’ll most likely stay stuck for a while.