The longer I wait for the muse, the harder it gets. So jump the writing engines. If I’m doing this for the long run, if I believe in this thing that I am doing, if I trust the process of read, write, vent, repeat, I might as well just go ahead and put my bets.
What are the risks? What could go wrong? Could you ever run out of words to write. Could the stream of thoughts cease to flow? So maybe there are theories to test and experiment.
Does writing really beget more?
My favorite productive writing advice came from Seth Godin: “The Talker’s Block”. I want to believe him. He’s such a nice guy. But in my stinginess for my words, I wondered: Does writing really beget more?
Won’t our words lose strength the more we talk? Don’t magical spells need consecration of words and charging of energy? How could writing more make us better writers?
Ah. But energy is fluid. We are mere vessels of words and thoughts and energies. Dozens, if not hundreds of ideas pass through us daily. Either catch and test them or let them pass on.
It’s pompous to think that our ideas need us to hold them. Ideas need to be exercised and applied (into practice, writing, spreading) to prove themselves worth keeping and following. Ideas need to get hammered and beaten against stony facts and oppositions to break, strengthen then improve.
That seems like so much work! I’m not so athletic to go beating my ideas on stone walls of facts and risk losing my very-hard-earned inner equilibrium.
That’s okay. You don’t have to. You don’t have to endure the rigorous cycle of self development so often. Maybe you’d enjoy botany or kickboxing more. Maybe you’ve just gone through a period of hard intellectual bursts and need to give yourself a break to digest and assimilate.
Nobody’s holding a timer and chasing you with an “Annual Intellectual Growth Plan”. Nobody’s going to hold it against you for not volunteering to be unhappy.
And if you’re doing things you don’t like for someone else’s sake, I hope that there is a lot love (expressed and nurtured and restated daily) between you people.
Fermenting works for wine and bread. Aging works for steaks and tobacco. Why can’t we just be reservoirs of ideas?
Because, you stingy stocktaker, you’re not a building! You aren’t made of mold and mortar. You can do that, of course, be a tomb where ideas come to die, be forgotten. But we assumed that you wanted write because you like writing. And you like ideas. So much liking you have for ideas that…well, look at what you’ve done to yourself.
See here, you’re worried about stock. So it's a simple economic question, not about method of processing and maturing and aging, thank God.
The easiest answer for the idea stock question, we need to check with your suppliers: How’s your reading?
Idea generation is an intellectual process. Intellectual processes need intellectual fuel. Intellectual fuel come in many forms and colors. What kind of fuel have you been feeding into your intellectual engines? In plain language, how much have you been reading, you dork?
If you want new ideas, you read.
What kind of reading?
Well, what kind of writing do you want to do?
If you read tweets and blogs, then you write tweets and blogs. If you read fiction, your moral flexibility improves along with your empathic abilities. If you read nonfiction, you…dammit. Take a hint already.
Knock it off. You’re doing a great job at degenerating ideas by worrying.
In tests of endurance, it’s not about strength or agility, tools or gadgetry. It’s usually a mental game. You’re not stupid or naïve. And nobody is keeping count of your faults unless you owe them money or an apology.
- Replace worry with workshops or wayward free-writings or READ about writing and writers.
- Keep writing until worrying ceases. Keep writing until self-confidence increases.
- Since blogging for a long time is a test of endurance, think of it as a sport instead of vintage winery. As the case with sports, biological engines are made of cells and vessels and fluidity.
- The better we take care of our physical engines, the better the intellectual engine will endure sitting through long bouts of intellectual work.
- That last point is, by the way, another way of explaining Godin’s theory of a talker’s block: The more you work that intellect, the more intellectual you get.