The Rhythm and the PainPhoto Credit Blue Ruin 1
After “NaNoWrMo”, if you have just spent November in a tornado of 50,000 words, you must feel very satisfied and pleased with your efforts at applying the mysterious craft of fiction writing – even if you didn’t reach the 50,000 word mark, or make sense of your draft. It’s not about writing a masterpiece or a best-seller. It’s about writing and focusing on the job, doing the best you can.
It’s about building confidence in the ability to write and create. To see, afterwards, that with a concentrated effort of body and mind, there will be a result worth reading.
The problem with being so intensely involved in bursts of creative activity is that when it stops the brain is in danger of nose-diving into a vacuum.
Change is difficult
Even after a month of NaNoWrMo writing your brain has developed a new habit, to write rapidly and think in short bursts to get the creative juices flowing. Art students are taught to do something similar, stand at the easel all day long with a model who poses for one minute and two minutes at a time. The student only has time to draw the model, no time to think and has to rely on their instinct to finish a sketch as rapidly as possible. The results are often intriguing and an opportunity for the student to see their weak points.
The problem is that with art students many of them don’t get away from this style of drawing and it becomes their style of working for life. They end up becoming sketchers who never go deeply into a piece of work. They feel the final effort, after two minutes, is all their could be, a little like throwing horse shoes at a post, if it lands correctly it’s a win if it doesn’t a point is lost but have another go anyway. The brain has found a set of values to follow and feels comfortable working this way. The parameters don’t get crossed anymore because it’s uncomfortable.
After NaNoWrMo you need to find a new project to work on before you go into neutral and indecisive about what to do.
The objective in working rapidly and not allowing the critical thought process to hinder creativity is to build confidence in yourself as a writer and creative person.
To show yourself that it’s not all about planning and constructing and shuffling ideas around endlessly.
Using the insight of working rapidly on a volume of writing that is designed to teach you something about yourself. What did you learn?
The Art of Thinking
We spend too much time thinking, that’s our problem when we are creative people. Zen philosophy teaches the opposite, don’t think – it’s bad for you. Japan has produced some wonderful artists and writers over the centuries, many of them practised Zen Buddhism. The art of not thinking but allowing the body and mind to work in harmony.
In the West we are always to taught and conditioned to think critically and competitively.
When we think first and then act, the body and mind are not in harmony they are in a chain of events.
The practice of NaNoWrMo is more Zen in that it offers a challenge to write and only write – don’t think too much, no time to stop and consider and change and try something and then go back to the original idea. Just write and follow instincts that when in harmony, will express the true idea immediately, like an arrow that is released from the the bow of the master it will hit the target.
When the master bowman releases the arrow he is not looking at the target, his eyes will get in the way. Body and mind work harmoniously together with the tool (bow and arrow) and the tool will execute the task it was created for. To hit the target.
Our bow is our mind and the arrow is the thought. The Bow releases the arrow which embeds itself into the target.