creativity, diligence, flow, motivation, phases, psychology, Writing

Going with Flow

Flow has deep roots in the nature of our make-up…just read Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book, “Flow,” and you will relearn how the path of least resistance cultivates positive change. The more we ‘flow’ with our environment, the better our chance for success than if we don’t. Opposing forces, or flow, not only waste energy, but increase the risk for failure.

So, what the heck does this have to do with writing? Well, I think it is becoming my new writing mojo for 2012. I have been noticing a pattern, consistent periods of diligence (editing), creativity (story ideas and plotting), and ‘just do it,’ (submitting, networking-the non-gab variety, killing my procrastinations, etc.) phases in my writing lately.

When I make the most of whatever phase I am in, good things (usually) happen. But if I fight a phase, by trying to do something else, I end up frustrated and/or disappointed. These phases often come at inappropriate times, don’t last long enough or last too long, but I’m better off going with the flow of them.

Last week, I started six new stories, ten pages of very rough draft ideas. It is driving me batty to have all this unfinished material potentially softening into my subconscious, but I’m going to go with the flow of creativity, and keep penning out crazy ideas, in hopes that my ‘diligent’ self returns—soon at that—and transforms these beauties into the good stuff.

What about you? Do you have different phases in your writing? Do you try to flow with it or do you find yourself fighting them due to what you ‘think’ you should be doing instead?

9 thoughts on “Going with Flow”

  1. A great perspective. I have to finish the first draft. I'm currently on number three and I know I have to get to that other stage. =) But for now, I'm having fun.


  2. Hi, Erin. That's a good question. With so little free time, I have spent all of it on networking. My second novel is finally in the editting stages, so now I need to begin writing project #3. The only way that happens is if I back off of the promoting.I'll have to let you know how it goes.-Jimmy


  3. I've had stories that have been written in the flow. And it seems to me that they're better. Certainly more enjoyable to write!I'd be very interested in hearing more about productivity, thanks for that. And sales, if you feel like sharing.


  4. Great question, Deb, and I certainly hope so! I’ve never given mindful attention to these phases before, so I’m kind of trying something new.I know there are times when we must focus: finish the draft, edit the story, and submit when we would rather being doing the opposite. Lately though, I’ve noticed a boost in creativity, and I have all these story ideas. Though other stories need to be edited, I don’t want to miss out on this creative phase, so I’m trying to go with the flow of that. Because my favorite part of writing is editing, I’m fairly confident that I’ll get back into that phase. It will be interesting to see the results of my productivity in working with flow-I’ll try to remember and post about it in a few months.Thanks much for the feedback.


  5. Story is such a mysterious process. That's what I believe, even though I think about it all the time. I've certainly noticed times when I've been resistant to finishing a story. And I've always ascribed this to the particular story rather than my mood. I'm rather focussed on results. Flow for me is a special gift. I particularly enjoy first drafting and I think that if I didn't focus I would spend all my time doing just that.The big question for me is: does the quality improve with flow? What do you think, Erin?


  6. life gets in the way mostly. when i have down time i feel lazy and don't want to do anything but play zuma and read blogs. when i'm super busy with work i want to stop working and write. so it goes.


  7. Love this post Erin! I completely relate. It's difficult to write when you're struggling to swim upstream! Go with the flow is a great mantra for writing and for life! The path of least resistance sounds so easy…why do we make it so hard for ourselves sometimes?


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