Writers may ply their craft from the comfort of their favorite chair, but do not mistake what we do for sedentary work. Writing is all about movement, though it is the mysterious and limitless movement of thought. Every scene, every sentence, every word is a movement in a specific direction. Because thought can travel in literally any direction, we writers spend much of our time seeking the right direction. That direction is always the effortless direction, the path that the story, poem, or essay wishes to travel. There is no better feeling than when I have found that path and am travelling it quickly. Now, choices seem to make themselves, though in truth I am still making them, only so rapidly and so certainly that they don’t feel like choices, just the next step on a clear and interesting path. Gone is that life-draining uncertainty from which all movement seems perilous, where every step might lead to some cliff of failure obscured by the shadow of time. I am free.
It feels so good to move in this way – to be caught and running in a fast-flowing stream of thought – that I can mistake all other experiences for compromises, a life settled for rather than a life explored. Worst of all is stillness, which can feel like the end of movement, the end of choices, the end of joy; the last, dull destination on a path to nowhere.
Except stillness is like the blank page itself, the source and fertile ground for all movement. Just as it is easier to find my balance standing still than walking a balance beam, so too it is easier to find that first effortless thought from a still mind rather than a mind racing to find some movement it can call success. To sit in my chair, to face that blank page, is to reacquaint myself with effortlessness in its simplest state. Once I remember what it feels like, I can proceed with my first step, and before long I am off and running.
If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual and group coaching.
Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write With Confidence. You can find William at: williamkenower.com