When we begin to write, we normally start with aspirations towards creating a complete work in the form of a novel or non-fiction book. The intention, we think, is to entertain and inform the world out there. our gathered thoughts and feelings we write on a subject that may include murder, mayhem, love, hate or a daring crime of a magnitude that would cause the public to gasp.
The usual exciting emotions that make our World a turbulent and dangerous place.
Aspirations are one thing but the inspiration to set it down on paper and build it into a complete work that makes it readable is another matter all together.
We discover, for the first time, that to write such an enormous idea requires mind management of some sort.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. Inspiration, full of enthusiasm and power drives us forwards, for a while. That kernel idea that throbbed and pulsed deep in the mind was demanding that you sit and work on it, expand it and follow it to the end. Yet, the path that seemed so right soon narrowed and then led into a woodland. Branches dipped and caught your attention, sudden movements in the undergrowth made you stop and stare. The sun started to set and the trees turned into black skeletons that created jagged edges of darkness. Your step slows down and you begin to wonder where this is all leading. How did you get here?
You are brave so you venture on into the world that you believed was yours. You thought it up, created it but you now realise that it really is bigger and more complex than at first sight. Night falls, you plod through the undergrowth. Always reminding yourself that this is where the story is. The darkness and rustles in the bushes are part of your story, too.
Zen thinking is based on simplicity. If someone tries to create an intellectual argument about Zen in order to explain it – then they are not speaking from the seat of Zen.
The Zen Mind is a beginner mind.
The great masters approach life with the mind of a beginner. That is why they are recognised as masters. Yet, they will tell you that they know nothing and they are learning, just like you and me.
We live in a world that teaches us, “you better get your act together, fast!” – ” If you don’t learn to swim, you’ll sink, fast!”. This is ego talk. The trouble-maker of the mind.
You begin. You have a great idea for a story and so you begin. Your world-mind, the mind of business and money, that part of your whole that becomes beguiled and caught in the storm of getting things done, falls into the old habit of approaching your writing as if you need to get past all of your beginnings as quickly as possible. This is the first mistake that we all make.
The beginning is always with us. We never know what will happen next in our story. We write it to find out where it is going, we write to discover the path it will take and we should follow the aspirations of the beginner into the murky depths of mind knowing that surely, at some point, it will take a turn and the sun will rise again.
As the writing progresses and the story expands we feel as if a spider is weaving its web. It is complex. we begin to reflect complex thoughts, we balance ideas, make notes, rewrite passages that we’ve only just finished. We become a note-taking, deep thinking, pencil grinding lunatic. We can’t see a way forwards. The simple idea that we had is now a complex mess of thoughts thrashing around in our brains.
Go back to the beginning. Be a beginner in life, is the simplicity of Zen thinking. The objective of Zen, really, is Nothing. We set objectives when we think up a story. The human mind loves to complicate matters – it creates a sense of importance. You know, the ego will assert itself at every opportunity – and ruin everything that was precious. Don’t allow the ego to take hold of your story. That would be like allowing a wayward child to lead you through the woods. You’ll never get out of there before Winter comes.
Approach each day’s writing as if you were a beginner, as if it’s your first time writing this story. As if you don’t know what will happen but want to find out. Then you will find energy to write everyday.
As a beginner who knows nothing, your energy to work at story will be keen. Your mind inquisitive and playful enough to enjoy watching words build into sentences that develop into ideas about characters and places. The deeper self guiding the mind. Your experience and knowledge of life will dictate the story you want to tell – not the ego. The ego is a mad person running around in a maze, screaming and shouting for the way out. It wants nothing more than to control things. It doesn’t care a jot about your story.
When we set out to do something, and as we’ve been taught in life, we immediately set a goal. The goal setting is not the solution or the end of an idea. It is the defining of a problem.
People set goals and then march forwards into battle against their objective everyday. Believing that they have solved the problem of success by setting a goal. When really, they have set a problem for themselves.
Try it; set a goal and begin to work on it. If it is important, it will become difficult. You will encounter problems within the first few hours of work. You will tell yourself that you are wrong, that it’s not the right time or that you don’t have a enough knowledge.
The problems that you encounter will always come from within. You set the goal. You wanted to control it, even whip it into shape and make it work; we are taught to use force to get things done. Nobody gave us lessons on how to trust ourselves, our innate nature and the astonishing work that the mind can achieve when given half a chance. To trust oneself. To know that you have a story to tell, it’s bursting to come out. You can’t say from where but it’s an amazingly important story to tell that must be written. Then let it out without fighting it or trying to harness it. Allow yourself the freedom to write it and when it’s done, you’ll know it’s done.
- Amazon book Link – Excellent Book to help writers get on track and work on their story telling abilities