The Whole of Creation

I have been writing and talking a lot lately about the flow. The flow has many names. Some call it the zone, others call it the vortex, still others the imagination or the muse. I like the flow because when you’re in it, the flow seems to have a momentum all its own. You know you’re in the flow as a writer when you feel as if you’ve entered a dreamlike state within which time loses its rigid hold on your awareness, and you forget to be afraid or to doubt yourself or to try hard. When you’re in the flow you don’t need to do anything but stay in the flow. I think a writer could and should spend as much time as he or she needs learning craft, and learning about the publishing industry, and learning what makes a good character and good scene and all the rest. Yet no amount of study and workshopping and careful editing can replace the flow. What the flow provides for me as a writer is beyond my human skill.

The flow is more than a good feeling, though it is that for sure, and the pleasure of the flow should never be overlooked. The flow feels good for the same reason sex feels good. That good feeling is life’s friendly invitation to creation. Come make something with me, life says. But more than the pleasure of forgetting to be afraid or jealous and doubtful is the blissful division of labor. My job is to show up, be curious, be honest, be open, and then let the flow do the rest.

And it does. The flow is responsible for all the details I could not have predicted, is responsible for all the surprising turns of thought and story. The flow is what keeps me writing because I do not feel as if I’m working. The flow is what answers every question. As wonderful as it is to be in the flow, I must remind myself of what is my job and what is the flow’s job again and again and again. Easy enough to doubt a thing I cannot see or taste or touch or hear. Easy enough to believe I am alone at my desk, responsible for the whole of creation, stuck with a handful of seeds and no ground to plant them.


Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion.

"A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.

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