Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Work Song

Do you have any specific feelings about work? Are you afraid to go to the office 8 hours a day because you despise your boss, co-workers, or anybody else who is around? Are you loathe to sit down and finish the latest chapter in your book because you only want to work when you feel creative?

Ray Bradbury, in his essay Zen in the Art of Writing, gives us three keys to greater creativity. They are work, relaxation, and don't think. Working leads to relaxation which leads to not thinking which leads to greater creativity.

It might sound kind of backwards to some people, but it's true. Everyone knows what it's like to get in a rhythm and not want to stop. Bradbury's basic principal is if you work enough, you will almost always be in the zone, have the rhythm, because going to work will cause relaxation. Aren't you relaxed when you are in the zone?

Well, according to Bradbury work is the cause, and relaxation, or the zone, is the effect.

It reminds me of those who say that the first million words are just practice. Have you written a million words?

I'm in need of some practice.

One of my goals for the year is to work, relax, and not think. Because then my characters will whisper their stories in my ear, if they're not already. And maybe the lost ones, the ones I've loved but have slipped through the cracks will appear.

As with any skill you might want to develop, writing takes work. Some days will be a struggle, but other will be as Emerson said, "That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not because the nature of the thing has changed, but because our ability to do it is increased."

Anybody else think work and relaxation sound good?

P.S. check out Bradbury if you get the chance. He's the man. And for good reason.

P.P.S. Some of us need to Whistle While You Work. Feel free, you have my permission.

P.P.S.S. if you want to sing, you have my permission as well, or if you want to just turn on some cool tunes that is fine too. Here is some catchy Nina for you.

1 comment:

  1. Oddly, I work best when I'm not relaxed. Yes, the presence of a certain brand of relaxation exists, letting the creative stream of consciousness flow, but there's a zone of tension in which I always am able to be most productive and it's usually when I've packed up my schedule so tightly there's no going, but forward.