Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Doing without Doing

Students always ask about procrastination and writer’s block. Some feel laziness set  in.  What happens in the writer’s mind to prevent the word flow? Most of the time it centers around frustration and fear. The product appears more important than getting there. All of a sudden nothing happens. Anxiety takes over.

In Taoist literature a concept exists called wei wu wei. It translates “doing without doing.” With writing a conscious need to achieve presents at every moment. It often interrupts the process. When one relents and flows into the doing the anxiety clears and a deeper wisdom takes over. The mind and body create together without the angst about outcome.

How do we get there? Spend time watching bees or hummingbirds. They move from flower to flower. There’s no finish line, just doing and gathering.

Writers need a form of exercise to release frustration and train the mind, spirit and body. Runners, bicyclists or those who practice yoga, understand the “flow” that occurs when mind and body dissolve into movement. One step at a time, one pose into another, one revolution of the pedals and process takes over. The breath assists to create a rhythm and the brain releases chemicals to drown the frustration and fear.

How do you translate this to writing?

Regardless of your mood, pick up the pen or tap the keys. Explore your relationship to writing. Discover what to say while writing to say it. The mental uncertainties will clear and you will move deeper into the experience. Suspense energizes and will reveal meaning.

Create Write: What troubles you the most about writing? Spend time in exercise, then return to the paper or keyboard. Write for 15 minutes without stopping. Suspend judgments and feel the freedom.

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