Writer’s Work ✍️

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Writing by hand makes your brain wait

In writing by hand, we deliberately pause to make the brain wait. This forced interruption, called disinfluency, yields more thoughtful writing.

There’s a reason many successful writers from David Foster Wallace to JK Rowling opt to write with pen and paper. When your mind moves as fast as the computer keys, you tend to overproduce. It’s like taking down all the professor’s notes in class. While everything gets consumed none of the words have staying power.

There’s no such thing as a tranquil flood of information.

It’s true: the more you get down, the more you have to play with. They even say to write continuously to push out our ideas. But acceleration can reduce the quality of your prose. The neurons need time to connect to each other in order to talk with more clarity.

All writing is in the edit. Yet, keyboard or longhand, the doubts still remain.

Everything goes in the queue

The queue is more of a scrapbook than a notebook. It’s a hopper of brain farts and observations brewing in all formats: text, images, video, and sound. It’s…

  • Where ideas get stored and intermix
  • Where content molds and takes shape
  • Where visions incubate until the timing is ripe
  • Where some concepts never the day of light

Your goal is to never let the queue go empty. You should always keep refreshing it with new content to help you sustain your thinking presence. The dull, the interesting, the ephemeral; it all goes into the Tumblr bin to age marvelously.

“I’m not writing it down to remember it later,
I’m writing it down to remember it now.” — Field Notes

Take copious notes and frequently revisit them. In generating novelty, you’ll always be two steps ahead.

‘The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work and gave to it neither power nor time’

“It is six A.M., and I am working. I am absentminded, reckless, heedless of social obligations, etc. It is as it must be. The tire goes flat, the tooth falls out, there will be a hundred meals without mustard. The poem gets written. I have wrestled with the angel and I am stained with light and I have no shame. Neither do I have guilt. My responsibility is not to the ordinary, or the timely. It does not include mustard, or teeth. It does not extend to the lost button, or the beans in the pot. My loyalty is to the inner vision, whenever and howsoever it may arrive. If I have a meeting with you at three o’clock, rejoice if I am late. Rejoice even more if I do not arrive at all.

There is no other way work of artistic worth can be done. And the occasional success, to the striver, is worth everything. The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”

Mary Oliver, Upstream: Selected Essays

A retrospective report

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gif via sambmotion

We take a retrospective report, this time with the prospect old various viewpoints.

When we look back at our own history, it only makes sense now and never then. We can only see as the neurons emit.

The future prohibits knowledge

Gathering experience increases one’s attentiveness toward ambient hints. Age is hypnotic, it compels us to notice and thereby prevent the patterns and vices we originally pursued.

“The creative part of us gets tired of waiting. Or just gets tired.” — Mary Oliver

We may have to live things twice in order to figure out what to do next. The coexistence of both hope and despair push us through the messy middle.

From the cave to smartphones and onto the next magic wand, the fun is in the hunt to figure out what’s on the other side of the rainbow.

Technology spreads unreality

The reason we’re so comfortable around friends is because we can strip away the plastic and can be ourselves, zits and all.

The problem with social media is that while it allows for the perfected self, it also undermines reality. Juxtaposing our screen lives and raw selves can make us feel fraudulent.

Technology spreads unreality.

The law of attraction says that we can achieve what we think, visualize, and collect. But what colonizes parts of our mind with fantasies and ideals also deceives us.

Technology may spread unreality, but there is no substitute for facts.

No matter how many times we pollute Instagram with the edited self, the squares decompose as quickly as they’re shared.

Life doesn’t recycle on the internet’s stage.

The effect of expectation

The placebo creates a ceremony of expectation. It builds off novelty and reinvigorates confidence in the possibility of recovery.

We all fall victim to the soft mental implantation of a placebo, the oldest medicine in the world. One simple belief kickstarts a chemical revolution. But in reality, the answer just needed to be poked from dormancy.

Reawakened, the inner narrative thrives on hedonic editing.

We certify the belief in our internal storage. Over time, it gains credibility and records the transaction on the human block chain of the genetic code. Truth happens to the idea

If at first, we expect, then we can succeed. It is faith that moves mountains.

The sorcery of screens

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The internet never ends. Mountains of content are piling up as we speak.

The hook is neither in our control or that of technology. We pull the lever, the slot machine spits out a variable reward.

It’s impossible to disentangle ourselves from the mindlessness of a ludic loop. With more data, the machine grows smarter and more manipulative.

But we can’t fault our own blindness, zombie scrolling in the sorcery of screens.

All the while, the trees are abundant, pumping oxygen into nature and encouraging humans to rejoin the broken.

Tethered to the magic of screens, we feed the data distilleries with our oil and reap cheap entertainment pellets in return. There is no quid pro quo. We are competent and conscious only in our dreams, awaiting that return to an archaic form of life.

Philip Roth (RIP): ‘Writing turns you into someone who’s always wrong’

“Writing turns you into someone who’s always wrong. The illusion that you may get it right is the perversity that draws you on.”

Philip Roth, American Pastoral

In 2016, Roth donated 3,500 of his books to his hometown library in Newark, his ‘other home.’ Among those were the fifteen books Roth said influenced his life the most.

Assume everything and nothing

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We suffer from a surfeit of choice. Stuck in indecision, we end up doing nothing at all. Perhaps intertia is the best solution in these dizzying times. Instead of forcing the issue, we let nature take its course.

But more often than not, life doesn’t move unless we do. It begs for action and a subsequent reaction. Even more, in doing, we realize how much more is invisible.

Passivity and dynamism coexist

Surrounded by a morass of distraction machines, it’s no wonder we permit the frustration of ‘what’s next’ chip away at our patience. “Patience is the key to joy,” wrote Rumi.

Staring into nature’s green space may not solve our problem, but it will help us think expansively. We can assume that the best answer lies beyond us. That is until we realize that the answer cramped inside us all along.

The wait never means never if we never get tired of waiting it out right now.

The search continues.

How to persist after hitting rock-bottom

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We can toil in obscurity for years before we get a lucky break. We can also give up and accept that it isn’t meant to be.

But something happens when we feel like a complete failure. We start to simplify everything — what we own, where what we do — and get back to basics.

Defeat offers its own beneficial limitations. It pushes us to play with what he have and stick to the belief in our art.

When JK Rowling hit her lowest point — divorced as a single mother on child welfare with no published books — the only thing she knew was to keep writing. As she said in her Harvard commencement speech:

“I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.

Even when the publishers rejected her, she kept on and wrote even more. She leaned in on the process of showing up every day at the cafe and getting to work.

Failure can either be deemed temporary or definitive, depending on how we frame it. But with the right mentality, we can leverage the foundation of rock-bottom to help us limit our choices and persist.

Blinded by closeness

You can’t make anything in the forest stand still. It is in constant flux, whether that’s in seasons, wildfires, or in the territory marking of a killer bear.

Nature is fickle. It calls for preparedness and a broad scope.

“You can’t see the forest for the trees.”

One must not only have a plan in trekking the forest also but remain on guard. As the saying goes, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.”

Proximity can be blinding. Looking at the individual trees clouds the big picture just as the donut hole takes your eyes off the whole donut.

Linearity isn’t as important as a deliberate wandering, with eyes open to the vastness of seeing.

Let the forest speak.