Arlene Somerton Smith
Sounds counter-intuitive, right? It should be: “When you start to think, start writing.”
Many writers believe that. They surround themselves with dictionaries, grammar guides and how-to-write books. They make sure they are wide awake and have coffee at the ready. Beads of sweat form on their foreheads from the physical strain of stringing together perfect formulaic sentences. But in the end, their hard-working brains summon up forced, drab and lifeless writing; the words don’t live and breathe into story.
Story breathes to life from the “something more” part of us that we access through pathways other than our brain synapses. We need our brains to fulfill the physical act of writing, but we need to get our brains out of the way to create story.
Writers over the centuries have talked about the idea of being a cosmic receiver and transmitter for story or poetry. William Blake relied on what he called a “Poetic Genius” to deliver works through him, not from him. Stephen King, in , said that “. . . good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you out of the empty sky.” I highly recommend that you watch Elizabeth Gilbert’s fascinating take on writing genius.
Writing becomes easier when a writer surrenders to the paradox. When a writer sets himself, and the ego, and all rational thought aside and says, “OK universe, do with me what you will,” amazing things happen. We become alchemists that transform the intangible into the tangible, or collapse waves into particles. When we get our brains out of the way, we stop trying and start doing. When we allow the flow, stories breathe into life with truth.
And it’s all about the story.