Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Think, Don't Think

//static.flickr.com/1176/1408973118_48c2dca307_mWriting is such a strange thing, because we have to think hard, think deep, and figure out why we think what we do and what motivates us to do this or that or this or that.

It can make one crazy.

Personally, the universe has been telling me to stop thinking so much. There’s a point at which we really can’t get to the bottom of everything we feel, think, and do. Sometimes we just feel one way or another, for no reason other than maybe the moon cycle or hormones or even what we ate.

Lately, I’ve been trying not to think so much, but I sometimes trip over into self-absorbed analysis of every thought and feeling.

On the other hand, sometimes our feelings are real clues to what we want or need to do. And sometimes they are intuition speaking.

But sometimes, they’re just self-absorbed gunk that just muddies everything up.

Back to the other hand, close scrutiny in how we tick is important for our writing. We need to understand why people do what they do, when they do it, and what triggers there are. We need to understand motivations and feelings and thoughts, and how they all define our character. Why do we feel this way? What caused us to make this statement? What motivated us to take this action? It’s all important stuff to know about humanity, so that our writing can be truer, more honest, and more real.

So there’s some strange line there, you know?

Think, don’t think. Where’s the line? What do you think? How do you know when to turn on the thinking and when to turn it off?

6 bonus scribbles:

Erica Orloff 9/19/2007 03:24:00 PM  

Hi Spy:
Brilliant post. I struggle with that all the time. I find my mind wandering if people don't talk fast enough for me, or if they are not smart enough for me. And it's a horrible habit. So I work on being "present."

For me, when the sleep goes, THEN I know. And put it this way, I'm exhausted because my sleep quality sucks lately. Well, between thinking and my oldest getting nabbed for reckless driving. The joy of parenting a teen!
E

spyscribbler 9/19/2007 04:43:00 PM  

Oh! As if you don't already worry about their driving, and then they get nabbed for reckless driving? Yikes. I wouldn't sleep either!

You'd hate talking to me, LOL. My thoughts do not come out coherent unless I'm typing. It's like, I think a thought, and then my mind is two thoughts ahead, so I constantly have to stop, rewind, figure out where I'm in my current sentence, and try to organize the words. Gotta try that present moment thing, LOL. Typing? My fingers can go just as fast as my mind, LOL.

Christa M. Miller 9/19/2007 05:32:00 PM  

OMG I have been having the SAME problem lately! In particular, potty training is driving me nuts. I keep thinking of it as a problem to be solved, rather than just a developmental thing to work through. Also, I keep thinking I'm offending everyone, and I'm picking apart what I say and do - it's crazy!

My mind does the exact same thing yours does too....

Jeremy James 9/19/2007 07:06:00 PM  

My two cents: when you're thinking, it's not "automatic" yet. When it's been ingrained through repetition, it becomes subconscious, and you don't have to "think" about it to do it.

Of course, the goal is to make your writing automatic...but to get better, you have to be constantly learning new things, which, paradoxically, takes purposeful thought and eliminates the possibility (for a time) of being automatic.

This is what great athletes mean when they say: "you have to be willing to play worse to get better."

spyscribbler 9/19/2007 11:02:00 PM  

Awww, Christa! I worry about that, too, online. I can't imagine you ever having to worry about offending anyone, though! Potty training ... I know potty training a child can't compare to a cat, but it's amazing the pride and happiness I felt when my littlest kitty learned to poop where and when he was supposed to. I think I even looked at it, as if I would wrap it up and put it in a scrapbook or something, LOL.

spyscribbler 9/19/2007 11:03:00 PM  

Jeremy, you bring up such a great point! The more automatic the skills are, the more you can focus on the artistry and emotion. And that's where it's all at, don't you think?