Willful Writing

I have learned something recently, and thought of sharing it with you.

Most of you know now that I am a capable writer and that I enjoy writing to the point of expressing most of my feelings through writing. But when I sit in front of my screen I find myself blank sometimes. I try to force articles out of me but nothing is produced. Eventually, a feeble excuse of an article is written, resulting in bad reviews and disappointed looks.

I cannot write awesomely at will. That is the lesson learned.

The revelation was quite alarming. How would I ever trust my ability if I could not write at will? How do I use my creativity if I could not summon its powers at will? I began to lose faith in myself, as one normally would when one doubts the best of ones abilities.

Then a still voice within me spoke the words of wisdom.

“Relax. Force is not the key.”

And then I remembered all the times when inspiration flowed through me like the gushing waters of the Mahaweli River during the rains. Each time that happened, I never tried to force it out of me. I simply relaxed and waited for the words to come out. There is no force, save for the force within.

Being the analytical grump I am, I researched on this for a more scientific or logical answer, and I was duly treated to a good one.

Our Mind never stops thinking. It thinks even when its asleep (hence the dreams and the waves), and it will continue to do so until we die. Therefore the Mind is almost inexhaustible when it comes to ideas. However, the more I force myself to come up with ideas, the more work I give my Mind. When I force it, I involuntarily scream at it, demanding results, throwing a bit of a tantrum like a silly five-year-old. The entire process consumes far too much mental energy and processing time of the Mind, since the Mind can only focus on one thing at any given moment. In the end, all I feel is stress and anger at the incomplete task at hand.

Thus, I have rephrased my method of success into a set of steps so that anyone could follow it:

Clear your Mind.

Now I don’t mean to sound like a hippy, but this is an essential step. It will help you focus your mental energy and avoid unnecessary thoughts. Basically what we are doing here is preparing our Mind for an increase in efficiency. If you are a meditative person, clearing your Mind would be relatively trivial.

 Set a goal.

You must tell your Mind what you want, firmly. For example, if you are to write an essay about Dolphins, you can tell yourself: “Dolphins. Tell me about Dolphins.” Just do this very firmly about three times and stop.

 Wait for the answer.

The internal database of your Mind is now at work. All you have to do is to wait for your query to be answered. Your Mind will start to dump out whatever you knew about Dolphins. Note that your Mind will only tell you what it knows; to get further information, you have to do some research. You must feed your Mind for it to help you out.

 Write it down!

The Mind is now open and from it shall gush forth great floods of information. Depending on you, this information may be organized or disorganized. Whatever it is, just set yourself free and write as much as you wish!!!

Pretty simple is it not?

Later on, if you wish to meet certain criteria or submission rules, you can edit what you wrote to fit the requirements. As you get better at this, the Mind will generate perfect reports automatically!

This is my cure for writers block. The method is basically to Relax, Request and Wait. RRW!!!! (Maybe I can write a book about it later… hmmmm…).

Just so you know, this article was written using this method, except I did not set a goal but rather set my Mind free and went with the flow!


~ by Prageeth Thoradeniya on March 21, 2008.

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