The Stages of Writing

I’m reading Foolsgold by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge and today I came across a passage I thought insightful.

“Buddhist teacher John Travis defines stages to the cycles in our lives: inspiration (or insight), action, satisfaction, and pause.  In our culture, he says, we focus on “action” and slight the other three stages.  When do you give yourself time for fresh inspiration?  When do you need time to just rest in satisfaction after something has been completed?  When could you allow yourself to give up, give over, or pause, and leave room for grace to slip in?  The creative ocean of the unconscious may well be repelled by the pressure of “trying.”  When can you drop the ball and just be?”

I can answer some of that.  For inspiration, I try to be open to it at all times.  I think I find I achieve the most inspiration when I am outside.  Ironic isn’t it?  When I am away from paper and pen, computer or typewriter, that’s when inspiration strikes.  But I think I would wither away and die if I wasn’t outside.  Something simple like hanging laundry gives me a chance to focus on the clouds and sky, be a part of the air.  It clears the ‘cobwebs’ and lets me  be open to things. I honestly can’t explain it, but I look forward to being outside.

Resting in satisfaction?  Well, having completed few projects, this one is a bit harder, but I have felt it occasionally.  When I’ve finished two of my children’s books, there was this insane warm, comfortable feeling.  Like I had done something worthwhile.  Granted, they may not be published yet, but knowing I have it done, is satisfying.   

Being satisfied with giving up a project.  Now that one is a bit harder.  I hold onto every idea until I’ve squeezed every available option out of it.  Hence, no story has hit the garbage bin.  Everything has potential, so I can’t just give it up.  Let it alone for a while, yes. Give it up, no.  I found Albert Berg’s post today helpful.  Managing the Mushy Middle  I also thought Hack’s post An Old Short Story and the Purpose of a Drawer helpful as well.  Sometimes you just have to give it up.  (I will probably always have a file of maybe’s though)

There are aspects of Writer that we always focus on.  Writing.  We are always trying to just write.  We feel like we are not accomplishing anything unless we are hard at it.  Typing away, scribbling, or just making a note somewhere.  But there is more to being a writer than writing. Sometimes you just have to look at other avenues.  Breathe, relax, enjoy the completion.

I’ll let you know when I hit that next moment of completion.

Writing on



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