Monday, January 26, 2015

Plotting, pantsing, or zen living? #amwriting

For the last week or so, I've been doing this thing called a "Miracle Morning". The premise is that you get up earlier than usual and you spend your first hour (six tasks, ten minutes each) in quiet self-reflection. I decided that I would try it out (mostly because it was my partner's idea and we both sleep better if our alarms are synced). I chose 7 AM as a get up time. I thought if I could open my eyes at 7:00 AM to begin with, it would already be a $%^#*&% miracle.

To say I am a nightowl is an understatement.

So imagine my surprise when I realize, about 8 days later that I LIKE to get up at 7:00. I like having  an excuse to sit on the couch with a warm pug in my lap and meditating, reading, journaling and then visualizing my super awesome future.

So that is what has been going on--wait for it! I have a point here.

In this morning's reading time, I was reading a post about having "no goals". Here it is, if you want to read and come back.

So I read this post and immediately I'm like: "this dude is *&^$% crazy. What do you mean no goals? I LIVE for goals." I twisted his idea this way and that way--sure, making them too big can be discouraging, but small doable goals are the key to success!...etc. I tried really hard to have a open heart and mind (wah wah zen dialogue), but mostly I realized I'm just not ready for such a radical idea. He mentions something about lying on the couch all day eating Ho Hos or something and I thought--damn right, that is exactly what I look like when I don't plan my day! 

And while I can't buy into the "no goals" idea completely, or maybe I'm having some kind of linguistic hang up, I do think he is touching on something important about creativity.

For example, I am what is called a "pantser". In the writing world, this means that I do not follow a strict outline when I begin writing my novels. I have some ideas in mind, interesting high points that pull me toward a "destination", but I do not meticulously plan out each scene of the book.

I prefer to do it this way because I think overplanning kills creativity. If I plan to have something ABSOLUTELY, NO QUESTIONS, IT MUST happen on page 237, then I am missing out on the super awesome thing my brain could come up with instead. So I think I get what Leo is saying here about letting oneself go, without aim, and see what happens. From a creativity standpoint, I can see, comprehend, and agree  with this.

However, I think instead of the term "no goals", I prefer this zen idea: "Tell the universe what you want and then let it go. The universe is always conspiring in your favor and if you tell it what you want, it will make it happen. So just throw it out there, and let the universe work out the details."

So while I can't just throw my ambitions to the wind (sorry, Leo!) I can see the value of taking the saddle off my creativity and I can definitely see letting go of the reins enough to let the universe surprise me.

After all, at least in fiction, these surprises are usually better than what I've got planned. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment