Free Your Mind, or The Zen of Writing

“To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders”-Taoist saying.

     Anyone who knows me pretty well, knows that I have a love for Taoist philosophy and Zen Buddhism. I try to live my life by own personal mantra: “Go with the Flow” as much as possible. How does this translate into my writing? I was recently told by my good friend and writing mentor, Amanda Green, that I should just let the story flow out of me when I am writing, and try not to over think what I am putting down on paper or the computer screen until it is finished. By starting and stopping constantly, I take myself out of the moment and lose the feeling and sense of the story, the voice of the character, and the result is the finished product reads choppy and dry. I tend to want to revise and fix things as I go along, and it has been one of the greatest stumbling blocks to being able to publish my writing. I get myself in constant editor’s mode, and never finish the damned story, book, article, whatever it is I am working on at the time. 

 “Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self conscious, and anything self conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” -Ray Bradbury

     The other aspect of freeing your mind while writing, is to not censor yourself while in the creative process. Sometimes thoughts or ideas come to you through the character, and you think to yourself; “where the hell did that come from?” Just accept it and leave it be, until the story is finished and then you can always go back later and determine if it fit the character, or story. Sometimes I have “channeled” a character so well that I feel like they are speaking through me, taking over my thoughts. It can be frightening if you are not used to it, or unwilling to accept it. I have heard other writers admit to the same experience, feeling as though the character was possessing the author for a time.  I’ve been doing it for so long, I usually don’t question it, I just let it happen. Let yourself go, and embrace the moment of inspiration.

   “Only in the present do things happen”-Jorge Luis Borges

 

    

 

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Published in: on May 7, 2011 at 10:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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