Thursday, September 8, 2011

Go With the Flow

Some days, everything just works. I sit down to write and the words flow effortlessly onto the page. When I edit, I can see the problems and know how to fix them. Psychologists call this Flow. It feels great. I'm a writing god.

Other days, not so much. I struggle to put two words together, and when I do I wrestle the impulse to delete one of them. The scene in my head is clear; the scene on paper should be taken out back and shot, then doused in gasoline, and . . . *blech*--it's not even worth burning, just throw it away. But I don't throw it away. I soldier on. Because when you find yourself going through hell, it's a bad idea to stop and setup camp.

Everyone I know experiences both these states: some Fight more than Flow; others Flow more than Fight.

I find I produce my best work when . . . I'm writing. Sometimes I go back and read a scene that Flowed, and it's awful. Other times, I dread reading a scene because I fought with that piece for hours or days, and it works with only minor tweaks. Of course, the opposite is true as well.

So whether you feel like doing something or not, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Some days you'll enjoy going with the flow. Other times you'll struggle against it.

Come heaven or hell, as long as you keep putting words together and working scene after scene you're going to make it.

* I totally need four or five of those Works in Progress cones to put around my desk while I'm writing. The picture was taken by koalazymonkey and can be found on Flickr.


Donna K. Weaver said...

I can so relate to this. Some days I'm just amazed at my writing. I'll read it later and think, "Wow. I wrote this?" Other times I'll read what I've done and immediately know it's worthless drivel.

Stephanie Black said...

So true, John! And it's interesting how good work can come from from both flow and fight! Great blog, and I loved the line about not setting up camp in hell--brilliant!

Peggy Eddleman said...

I need some of those cones, too!

And you're right-- if you keep at it, things will all work out.

John Waverly said...

Donna - been there, done that. Many times.

Stephanie - I can't take credit for that quote. It gets attributed to Winston Churchill a lot, but I couldn't find a definite source. The "original" quote goes like this. "If you're going through hell, keep going."

Peggy - Thanks for stopping by. So much of life is persistence, and so much of persistence is work, and so much of work is just getting started.

Creative Commons LicenseUnless otherwise noted, all posts on the John Waverly blog by John Waverly are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
* Background image based on Night Sky theme by Ray Creations