Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Lonely Writer Part 2 :: Contentment

This is the second installment of the Lonely Writer series. Last time we talked about how the desire for resolution (however we define resolution when we sit down) in a piece of writing can sabotage our writing effort. Since writing is a solitary endeavor, we alone control our experience. Less desire when we write is the first step in that process.

The second step is: Contentment.

It's an old adage: When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose. This is contentment in a nutshell. People often look at contentment as an overwhelming satisfaction with life. I tend to be on the side of the fence that believes, if you've got nothing to lose, you are actually in a pretty good spot. When you are content - when you have nothing to lose - you are more free to write without reservation and take those chances that allow you to grow as a writer.

How do we fall into the the trap of non-contentment? This usually happens when we sit down to write and our ego comes along. Your ego is also known as that little editor on your shoulder, the one who tells you when something is not right, needs to be rewritten, or is just not as good as you are capable of doing. We've all been there. And as much as I am aware of it in my own writing, it still creeps up.

To achieve contentment in your own writing, you need to allow yourself to "make mistakes". When you do this, you are also giving yourself permission to venture into new territory. Will you turn out some stuff that is ... well ... not great? Absolutely. You will also, by default, be turning out more material, which, in itself, is an improvement over not writing anything because you are afraid you have something to lose by not creating work that you feel meets your own standards. Sometimes, if you are not careful, you may just write something amazing that you wouldn't have written before. I think that's worth the trade-off; don't you?

Next time you write, be content just to write. Check your ego at the door. Let the words come out. And if they need work when you are done, then fix them up later. That's why we have drafts of writing.

Next time, we will talk about how avoiding unnecessary activity can help you keep churning out the words and growing as a writer.

Related Posts:
The Lonely Writer :: An Introduction
The Lonely Writer Part 1 :: Less Desire
The Lonely Writer Part 3 :: Avoiding Unnecessary Activity
The Lonely Writer Part 4 :: Complete Discipline
The Lonely Writer Part 5 :: Not Wandering in the World of Desire
The Lonely Writer Part 6 :: Not Seeking Security from Discursive Thoughts

1 comment:

bhumika said...

Great posts geoff...i totally agree when you say that ego comes in the way of writing. I face this problem when i have to write in office...i always want it to be flawless. As a result, i end up writing very little. While at home, i am at ease and write pages altogether. In office, there is always a consideration that well, this is your job and you HAVE to perform. That comes in the way of creativity.

Really glad you have taken up this topic for your series. Looking forward to the next post. :)