Warning: Undefined variable $pluginsLoaded in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/functions.core.php on line 10

Warning: Undefined array key "mobiledevice" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/PCookies.inc.php on line 49

Warning: Undefined array key "POP" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/functions.inc.php on line 83

Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/functions.inc.php on line 83

Warning: Undefined array key "loginvalues" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/PCookies.inc.php on line 49

Warning: Undefined array key "authorid" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_resetcontainer.php on line 4

Warning: Undefined array key "author_type" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_resetcontainer.php on line 8

Warning: Undefined array key "lid" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_resetcontainer.php on line 9

Warning: Undefined array key "expiry" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_resetcontainer.php on line 10

Warning: Undefined array key "noads" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_resetcontainer.php on line 11

Warning: Undefined array key "adfree" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_resetcontainer.php on line 12

Warning: Undefined array key "loginpaid" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_resetcontainer.php on line 13

Deprecated: Required parameter $property follows optional parameter $content in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/Communication.inc.php on line 222

Deprecated: Required parameter $property follows optional parameter $content in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/Communication.inc.php on line 238

Warning: Undefined array key "loginvalues" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/PCookies.inc.php on line 49

Warning: Undefined array key "author_type" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/Tags.inc.php on line 21

Warning: Undefined array key "logged_in_authorid" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/Tags.inc.php on line 22

Warning: Undefined array key "loginvalues" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/PCookies.inc.php on line 49

Warning: Undefined array key "author_type" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/Tags.inc.php on line 21

Warning: Undefined array key "logged_in_authorid" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/Tags.inc.php on line 22

Warning: Undefined array key "p" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/components/PArticles.inc.php on line 11

Warning: Undefined array key "series" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/components/PArticles.inc.php on line 12

Warning: Undefined array key "more" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/components/PArticles.inc.php on line 14

Warning: Undefined array key "s" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/components/PArticles.inc.php on line 16

Warning: Undefined array key "a" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/components/PArticles.inc.php on line 18

Warning: Undefined array key "logged_in_username" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/functions.core.php on line 401

Warning: Undefined array key "logged_in_name" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/functions.core.php on line 401

Warning: Undefined array key "sid" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/components/PArticles.inc.php on line 58

Warning: Undefined array key "cid" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/Communication.inc.php on line 114

Warning: Undefined array key "cid" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/Communication.inc.php on line 114

Warning: Undefined array key "loginvalues" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/PCookies.inc.php on line 49

Warning: Undefined array key "authorid" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/ContentHelper.inc.php on line 13

Warning: Undefined array key "lid" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/SpamHelper.inc.php on line 53

Warning: Undefined array key "lid" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/SpamHelper.inc.php on line 53

Warning: Undefined array key "fontroy" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/PCookies.inc.php on line 49

Warning: Undefined array key "fontsize" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/functions.core.php on line 549

Warning: Undefined array key "reprint" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/functions.core.php on line 627

Warning: Undefined array key "rid" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/functions.core.php on line 628

Warning: Undefined array key "pl_pageheader" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/functions.core.php on line 45

Warning: Undefined array key "pl_headers" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/functions.core.php on line 45
Article: Zen And The Heart of Writing | StoryCon
Warning: Undefined array key "javascripts" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/functions.core.php on line 64

Warning: Undefined array key "logged_in_name" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/functions.core.php on line 401
 
 

Warning: Undefined array key "home" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_translate.php on line 4

Warning: Undefined array key "url" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_translate.php on line 5

Warning: Undefined array key "loginvalues" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/PCookies.inc.php on line 49

Warning: Undefined array key "authorid" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_bell.php on line 4

Warning: Undefined array key "dummyads" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pthemes/storycon/plugins/Advertisements/classes/Advertisements.inc.php on line 47

Warning: Undefined array key "Google_Storycon_728_90" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pthemes/storycon/plugins/Advertisements/classes/Advertisements.inc.php on line 731
Most Popular Choices

Warning: Undefined array key "logged_in_name" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/functions.core.php on line 401

Warning: Undefined array key "loginvalues" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/PCookies.inc.php on line 49

Warning: Undefined array key "logged" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/AdminButtons.inc.php on line 55

Warning: Undefined array key "" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_adminbuttons.php on line 38

Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_adminbuttons.php on line 38

Warning: Undefined array key "tw" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/ShareCount.inc.php on line 24

Warning: Undefined array key "msghold" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/Contacter.inc.php on line 27

Warning: Undefined array key "pid" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/Projects.inc.php on line 76

Warning: Undefined array key "loginvalues" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/PCookies.inc.php on line 49

Warning: Undefined array key "author_type" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/Tags.inc.php on line 21

Warning: Undefined array key "logged_in_authorid" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/Tags.inc.php on line 22

Warning: Undefined array key "promotedate" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/Promotions.inc.php on line 156

Warning: Undefined array key "msghold" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_authorbubble.php on line 39

Warning: Undefined array key "cid" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/Communication.inc.php on line 114

Warning: Undefined array key "fontroy" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/PCookies.inc.php on line 49

Warning: Undefined array key "fontsize" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/functions.core.php on line 549

Warning: Undefined array key "comments" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_socialmediapages.php on line 9

Warning: Undefined variable $yourfb in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_socialmediapages.php on line 28

Warning: Undefined variable $yourtw in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_socialmediapages.php on line 29

Warning: Undefined variable $yourln in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_socialmediapages.php on line 30

Warning: Undefined variable $yourig in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_socialmediapages.php on line 31

Warning: Undefined array key "paid" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_socialmediapages.php on line 37

Warning: Undefined variable $yourfb in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_socialmediapages.php on line 58

Warning: Undefined variable $yourtw in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_socialmediapages.php on line 64

Warning: Undefined variable $yourln in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_socialmediapages.php on line 70

Warning: Undefined variable $yourig in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/pl-admin/pl_socialmediapages.php on line 76

Warning: Undefined array key "loginvalues" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/PCookies.inc.php on line 49

Warning: Undefined array key "authorid" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/Series.inc.php on line 515

Warning: Undefined array key "loginvalues" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/PCookies.inc.php on line 49

Warning: Undefined array key "authorid" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/PopularContent.inc.php on line 74
Share on Facebook 177 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Articles   

Zen And The Heart of Writing

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   No comments
Message Steven Barnes

Originally Published on OpEdNews

Â"Life is what happens while youÂ're making other plansÂ"Â""John Lennon

Everything you can think of will and in an odd way SHOULD get in the way of your writing. In other words, if you are doing the workÂ"REALLY doing the work, you are constantly digging into the least comfortable corners of your psyche, constantly struggling to understand yourself, your culture, your world. Constantly engaging with questions of the origins of violence, sexuality, love, hate, war, need, hope, and hopelessness. In other words, you are going deeper and deeper into the one human being you will ever have any hope of comprehendingÂ"yourself.

There is a thought exercise that goes something like this: take a beaker and fill it with rocks. Is it full? Yes? No? Take pebbles and pour them into the beaker so that they fill the gaps between the larger stones. NOW is it full? Yes? No? Take sand and pour it in so that it fills the gap between the pebbles. NOW is it full? Yes? No? Finally, take water and pour it in so that it fills the gap between the grains of sand. NOW is it full? You get the picture.

This exercise has been used as an illustration in physics classes, and in time-management courses (do the big things first!), but here, I want to apply it to something else. As IÂ've said repeatedly, IÂ'm in the run-up to finally finishing the most punishing project of my life, the novel Great Sky Woman. The copyedited manuscript came back to me for a final two-week read overÂ"you guessed itÂ"during Christmas vacation. In fact, it was delivered to me in Atlanta, where I traveled with my family so that my wife could experience the birth of her niece. Along the way our jet-lagged two year old woke us up at ungodly hours. We never quite knew where we were going to sleep (just logistical stuffÂ""no oneÂ's fault.) Rooms were too cold, or too noisy. Vehicles that were supposed to be available became unavailable. Nerves were on edge. Maps were inaccurate, leading to long, stressful drives. Cassette players didnÂ't work, making drives even worse. By the time we got home we were flu-ish, and I was running out of time to work on my book (and I hadnÂ't been able to do much in Atlanta, because my research material was all at home in L.A.!) The baby, now adjusted for East Coast time, was waking up too early AGAIN, as he adjusts for West Coast time. Stress, stress, stressÂ"

And yetÂ"you know something? This is life. A beautiful child was born. Tananarive got to spend precious time with her sister at a critical moment. My son got to play with his cousin Jaxon, a wonderful little boy. We got to have Christmas with her family.

These things are far more important than a book. Any book. They are the essence of life itself. But the temptation is to think that they are Â"distractionsÂ" from the work. No. they are what life is about. What any book, any story worth a damn is about. Life. Our hopes and dreams, and how reality interacts with them.

How to do it? How to navigate these perilous channels? Lifewriting suggests that the answer is in us, and in the way we address our challenges daily. The creative flow, the magical moments when we are swallowed whole by the work we love, is still there, waiting for us to slow down, center, and find itÂ"ESPECIALLY when we are stressed out. Slow the #@$$ down, people. Listen to your heartbeat. The rocks, the pebbles, the sand are the emotional reactions we have to the Â"distractions.Â" The water, which can ALWAYS fit between these Â"problems,Â" is the emotional juice of our lives, our ability to improvise, to reinterpret, to create in the midst of chaos. This is your challenge. How will you Flow through the madness?

In everything we write, arenÂ't we constantly addressing the question of how a character will respond to unexpected pressures? How in the world can we learn this without developing such skills ourselves? The Â"waterÂ" is the zen immersion in the moment. It is our genius, our capacity for full engagement. The voices in our heads are the rocks, the pebbles, the sand.

Be clear that you are the water. Regardless of the challenges or barriers, you must be committed to returning to the ocean of your soul, your creativity. Writing, as life itself, must be a constant search for what is real, and beautiful, and absolute, even in the storm of life itself.

When all is said and done, that is all that really matters, isnÂ't it?
##
NY Times bestselling author Steven Barnes has published three million words of fiction and nonfiction. He has lectured on creativity from UCLA t the Smithsonian Institute. Learn more about his unique whole-mind writing system at: www.lifewrite.com
Rate It | View Ratings

Steven Barnes Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Steven Barnes is a NY Times bestselling author, personal performance coach, and martial artist. He has lectured on creativity and human consciousness at UCLA, Mensa, and the Smithsonian Institute. Steve created the Lifewriting system of (more...)
 
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

 
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles

Warning: Undefined array key "pl_afterarticle" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/functions.core.php on line 64

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Who Is The "Hero" In The Hero's Journey? (740 views)

Seven Ways To Connect Your Writing And Your Life (705 views)

Writing What You Don't Know (647 views)

Turn Writer's Blocks Into Stepping Stones (623 views)

Zen And The Heart of Writing (611 views)

Surviving A Good Review (595 views)

Total Views: 3921


Warning: Undefined array key "showallcomments" in /home/storycon/public_html/populum/classes/CommentsDisplay.inc.php on line 9

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: