Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Lonely Writer Part 5 :: Not Wandering in the World of Desire

Throughout other posts in this series, we've talked about fighting distractions that take us away from the writing process. Sometimes it's being over-critical of our work. Sometimes it's letting our attention wander to other places (i.e., television, 'net surfing). Sometimes it's letting our bodies wander by trying to do other task at the same time as writing (i.e., laundry, soaking the dishes). This type of wandering is a sort of horizontal movement when we are looking for something vertical. We want to go deeper in our ideas, not spread our concentration over multiple tasks.

That brings us to Part 5 of this series :: Not Wandering in the World of Desire.

Tapping Creativity means changing your perspective. This can take time, as our perspectives are usually cultivated by years of experience. Maintaining focus and writing about a subject, problem, or theme until you've exhausted it will usually get you deeper into it. Still, there are shortcuts that can come from wandering in the world of desire.

Art has a long history of substance abusers. Some were brilliant not in spite of their addiction, but because of them. We'd be naive to believe otherwise. And its easy to see how it could happen. Alcohol does relax the editor on your shoulder and let you write more freely. Drugs will alter your perceptions and perspectives.

For how long, though?

When we are stuck in the creative process, it is easy to wander in the world of desire to find help. That's a dangerous candle to burn, however. As those things can cause a physical addiction, they can also cause a crippling creative dependency. Just as drugs and alcohol can help to get more (and different) writing out, so to can they make you think that if you stop, you won't be able to be creative anymore. And that can put you in a worse spot than you were to begin with.

I would argue that it is more beneficial to sit at the keys and not write a single word for months than to wander in the world of desire with the sole goal of finding help for your creative struggles. Much attention is given to the woes of drugs and alcohol, but I feel this is one area that is overlooked.

Drugs and alcohol are only the most obvious examples. Any time we turn away from ourselves and rely on something that isn't directly related to creativity in the name of promoting creativity, we move further away from our goal, subsequently making it more difficult to take our writing to another level the natural way...with focus, dedication, and practice.

The Lonely Writer :: An Introduction
The Lonely Writer Part 1 :: Less Desire
The Lonely Writer Part 2 :: Contentment
The Lonely Writer Part 3 :: Avoiding Unnecessary Activity
The Lonely Writer Part 4 :: Complete Discipline
The Lonely Writer Part 6 :: Not Seeking Security from Discursive Thoughts


Samantha said...

I've got mad respect for you, too, G Lo.

I haven't written in quite some time - other things have my attention at the moment.

I really need to take even just fifteen minutes and set it aside for writing.

I guess that's where discipline comes in, eh?


Anonymous said...

Brilliant. Brilliant. An explosion of hope for those of us with predatory Muses under whose spell we wrote and wrote. Or Muses better off seen as temporary catalysts who served a purpose when we were less certain of who we were, but subtract from us now. Thank you for pointing out my ruby slippers...or is it, thank you for pointing out that I write just as well barefoot?

Geoff said...

You are so welcome. I hope it helps.