Making decisions can be a daunting process to go through. We all do it, get wrapped up in the thought process, the weighing up of facts. We believe that we’re sifting facts from fiction, and hoping that this will help us find the critical moment of action.
“Think before you speak. Read before you think.”
― Fran Lebowitz
Alas, weighing up things, thinking about stories, and trying to get on with writing can often lead to the tricks that the mind loves to play, just to get its own way and keep itself in the world of emotionally exciting thoughts.
The mind loves friction and conflict — it thrives on these things. It makes the mind feel important. It’ll do anything to keep the conflict going.
Learning to discriminate between planning, meaningless conflicts of the mind, and disciplined thinking is essential to achievement. Actions should always be the first goal. Proactive thinking helps us avoid becoming wrapped up in an imagined and profitless world of one idea after another.
Ideas have a habit of breeding. The mental process of thinking about something interesting or important leads to a flow of ideas that eventually overwhelm your capacities and puts you into a sort of dreamy stupor. A place where everything becomes important.
We can start thinking about a good idea — a business idea, or an idea to write about, then logic shows us that everything fits together, so we should move into action and see some results. Then fear kicks in.
The mind will prey on all our insecurities. Are we good enough? Do we fully understand what we are contemplating? We never feel good enough to do the things we dream of doing. A good solid week long think about it, will confirm that we’re right about it.
The results we hope for are normally impossible to achieve at the first kick of the ball. Actions will help us see more clearly what it is that we are really getting at with our ideas. Actions are the only method of reiteration, and it’s through reiteration that we finally reach the perfect idea of how to carry on and work an idea into something valuable.
It doesn’t matter if it’s writing a story, or starting a business, action is always the most important element for success.
Thoughts emulate actions by evoking emotions that are normally attached to those actions — so there’s a sense of doing in thinking.
Writing a story requires enormous energy from the author. The components of a story are manifold and require a person to do a juggling act that makes the mind dizzy after a while.
We have to develop a thought process like a filing cabinet. Always remembering that something is waiting to be used, or a certain character trait must be shown in this or that passage etc.
If you trust your mind, to know that there is always a lot going on down there in the dark basement of your mind, you’ll start to see that thing come together when you take action — much more real and satisfying that when you continue to simply think about it.
The problem with writing is that many people think that writing a story is all about thinking, drifting, mooning about with a glass of wine in the hand, and coming-up with a good concept. It isn’t. Writing is very hard work, and that hard work is very rewarding.
Writing isn’t about how many words you can scribble out in one session, it’s all about how satisfying the story is for the reader. Only the action of writing can reveal the story to you, and only sticking to that chain of daily work can help you understand whether you are on the right track with your story.
Writing and discovering is an action. The mind works differently when in action. Thinking about a story is to put yourself outside of your work. You have to get inside and feel it develop to know what to write. Working on the story with pen and paper, computer screen, is the step for step process of realizing your story into the world. And giving yourself the opportunity to stand back and see it objectively.
It’s when you write your characters into actions in scenes, that you begin to see them live their lives — that’s when you can feel characters growing into self-regulating beings. They begin to show you what they would do, and how they would act in any given situation.
When you merely think about character and storyline, without writing, your mind will allow all types of undisciplined ideas to flow into a scene. Your characters will do things that don’t make sense. There’s no structure to follow through on.
When we read, when we write, it is an action because then the mind is engaged with an object that also needs attention — it’s not only the mind alone following its own rules.
The Turkish Baker of Zossener Strasse – a very short and intriguing Berlin story