Springingtiger's Blog

The Joy of Running Out of Time

My commitment to posting a blog post every day of the year, and particularly in April when I was posting a poem every day, has had some interesting and unforeseen benefits. I have learned to enjoy and appreciate the benefits of running out of time. There have been several occasions this year when I have been frantically writing, or rather, typing, sometimes on my phone minutes before my deadline expires.

Strangely some of my best appreciated posts have been written under those circumstances. Sometimes when there is no time to be clever, and no time for editing, a strange state possesses me and the writing just comes pouring from my empty mind. It is as if the idea for the piece having been put down on paper, the writing rushes out to meet it of it’s own accord. I believe this is what some people call a “state of flow” I just wish writing were always so easy.

The invitation to participate in NaPoWriMo suggested to write now and edit later “perhaps in May”. Dropping the editing, or rather, dropping the editing mindset brings a new freedom. Rather than getting it right, the emphasis is entirely on getting it written. The editing mind strangles flow because the mind that evaluates and criticises arises in a different part of one’s being from the creative mind. When I accept that what I am writing may not be good and I allow that imperfection to show so that I meet my deadline, it gives me a new freedom just to write. The other great thing about this way of working is that it separates the process of writing from that of editing. When my writing and editing overlap I am giving neither my full attention, but when I leave some time before returning to a piece to edit it, it is with a fresh mind.

I remember an interview with the skater John Curry in which he said that it was only when he gave himself permission to fall that he started to produce medal winning performances. When I accept that it’s ok to sometimes produce something less than perfect, when it is ok with me if people don’t like something I have written, when I write for the sheer joy of writing without thought for the consequences, then I am truly writing. When I write to please others I am not a writer, I am a performing dog. If everyone who reads a piece loves it, but I don’t like it, I know I have compromised in order to please, it were better not to have written it.

I do not like being pushed for time, I prefer to polish, but occasionally it is valuable to be reminded of the power that lies within.


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