Ideas on Flow (frustration)
Helpful hint from Part 1: Don’t pound out the required amount of words as if bleeding a stone, improve the moment to moment activity that is writing.
Okay, let us go deeper into Flow.
Because writing is a lifelong endeavor that can never truly be mastered, writing can provide challenges for any skill level, creating endless opportunities for Flow. This also means it can create endlessly frustration if the writer’s goals are too ambitious.
There are many ways to alleviate frustration (ever heard of a vomit draft?), all boiling down to making easier goals.
It all depends on where you are as a writer (or even where you are that day). If you can’t write at all, try writing something bad for ten minutes. Move up from there. Instead of the perfect short story, how about an honest paragraph. Instead of the next great American novel, how about a vampire novel you always wanted to read. Play within the rules before you re-invent them. Can’t rewrite your novel, write the first draft of something new and come back to the old stuff when you have upped your skill.
Note: If your goals are too easy, boredom and stagnation set in. Also bad. The key is to find a balance. Think of writing as gears on a bike. If the gear is too high, it will be too hard to peddle and you’ll waste all your energy. If the gear is too low, peddling will be useless. The sweet spot will take you far, but the real goal is the riding of the bike.
All that said, our goals don’t just need to match our skill level, they also need to improve on the writing experience and our writing skill.
One problem writers seem to get into is our goals suck: Finish a novel! Even if I hated writing it. Get a novel published! Even if I don’t like the novel I’m publishing.
What if our goal was to imagine deeper, to find more meaning and enjoyment out of our writing, to create fiction with more confidence and vigor?
What if our goal was to enjoy writing?
Part three will look at the goal of imagining deeper.