Where you are writing is the second level of where you commune with gods, muses and inspiration. The first level is your mind. Everyone organizes their room from time to time — when we must — but few organize their minds.
No one wants to be buried with blank pages, words we could never set down on paper. I am going to share with you a piece of a system. A way to focus your mind on distinct stages of writing.
If you incorporate this knowledge into your process, writer’s block will never haunt you again.
Division of Tasks
Writing is divided into three distinct tasks.
To achieve flow, work on each stage by itself. The mind needs time to get into focus — around 90 minutes. Deep focus is nessecary for talking to God.
All of these tasks will be analyzed in respect to writing.
Research is not Writing
Every time we interrupt our writing — opening google, searching for the price of wigs in 1567 — we are interrupting the flow of creation.
The eudemonia of writing is too precious to be squandered on such trivial concerns!
Never squander passion on tedious research. Its like trading away gold for candy, by weight.
If you don’t know something, make it up, or if you must, write: ‘TK-price-of-wigs’. TK is short hand for ‘to come’. (I do a document search for TK- afterwards to finish a first draft)
Doubts regarding the honesty of your story are difficult. Keep a journal, or scrap of paper handy. Write down any nagging doubts. Then: Carry on writing. Write despite what you think.
Writing is Writing
When your mind conjures words, this alone is writing. Unfortunately, we only have sluggish fingers to pound them out.
I will save the mechanics of writing for another article, but I will leave you with this.
If your fingers aren’t moving, you aren’t in the head space to write. Not the other way around. Little doubts, questions, and pangs of hunger shouldn’t be addressed. Ignore them. Persistence is the key to success. Write them down on a handy journal to log them, then write.
Editing is not Writing
Do not edit when you write first drafts.
The mind-scape of creation is radically different from the mind-scape of editing. A painter does render a picture in crisp focus. Instead, the completed manuscript will come into focus from successive washes of color. Focusing brings things into focus.
If you are writing and simultaneously editing, your mind will be split in two. Your writing (noun and verb) will become tedious.
Removing Distractions from Microsoft Word
Most writing processors are set up in a way that harms are creativity. Red, blue outlines and thousands of menu buttons demand attention. But we must turn them all off if we have any hope to generate words.
To set up Microsoft word for deep focus, you must turn off proofing marks, and enter the focus mode. Open up the ‘File’ section in word. The ‘File’ button is the leftmost button top menu. Once there, look at the left tab, ‘Settings’ is on the bottom. Open settings.
Go to the proofing section, and check off all spelling and grammar checks in the ‘When correcting spelling and grammar in word’ subsection.
Turn them off with the same vigor that a gardener saves her precious sprouts from choking parasites.
Next, go back to the document. On the bottom right there is a button called ‘Focus’. Click it. Well done, you have optimized word for writing.
Allow Yourself to Write in the Language You Think in.
However, man cannot live off bread alone. Practical advice is peachy keen, but spiritual advice is foundational.
First drafts demand vigor. Write them recklessly.
Whatever words come to your head, blast them out! No one, not even your favorite author, has perfect words spring from their heads like Artemis from Zeus. Every book you have ever read is a first draft that has been smelted pure.
You can only write from experience. Perhaps you are like me, and doubt the importance of your life. Your personal language is criticized by your ego. Ego is an embarrassing friend that follows us everywhere.
For example, say your writing your first draft. You write a trope, a reluctant hero. The hero is anxious, so you write a cliche, ‘white-knuckled grip’. These thoughts pass into your mind and out again without your fingers imprinting them on the page. Do not let this happen. Despite how embarrassing your thoughts, you must write them down. Blast through the first draft like a stream of boiling water cutting through snow. White, hissing, fury.
Your stream on conscientiousness must be set down in type. If you don’t instantly play with your ideas, they will get bored and go find another friend.
What you will mine up is gold bearing ore. From there you toss it into the crucible, again and again. I’ve been doing this for a while and I’ve been getting quite good at it. I cannot recommend reckless writing enough! You, at times, will find gems in the dirt you delve up. Admire them briefly and keep digging. Most of the time you find gravel, but you must never hit backspace.
Gems are shy birds, and ore are violent seagulls. If you swat away the pizza-swiping seagulls, the graceful heron will think you hate birds. She leaves. Writing: your hands go forward.
Experience is personal, you may doubt its value. I am shy about my religion, career, and passions. The I think in language is Christian allegory, kids cartoons, and card games. While I write, I think, Oh, this part is too religious, no one is going to identify with it.
We must write regardless.
That is all.