A Restless Mind
Some days I just don’t possess the discipline or the will to sit at my desk and write.
Some days my mind flits about distractedly from one idea to the next unable to give any one thought more than just a cursory consideration.
Some days I am restless and lack the kind of focused concentration required by those who write.
Yet I do not consider these days a waste of time.
Food for Thought
While on the surface these days may seem unproductive as they yield nothing that could be published they are in fact just as important as the days that produce a word count I can feel proud of. This is precisely because they provide food for thought.
Of course, the trick is to capture these fleeting thoughts and to preserve them. Otherwise, they are simply lost and that would be unfortunate.
Because often (but not always; the caveat here is that there is no guarantee) the seemingly inane contains a germ of something that may grow into something more significant if, and only if, it is captured and developed.
And it is that very act of taking those ideas, as random and disparate as they may appear, and staying with them to find meaning that takes a particular kind of mindset that is characteristic of writers and those who create.
Often called inspiration, other-times called genius, I call it nothing more than perseverance mingled with a willingness to allow the mind to boggle as well as a healthy sense of curiosity as to what that search for meaning might produce.
Symbolism and the Psyche
Take, for instance, Holden Caulfield in ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J.D. Salinger and his fixation with what happens to the ducks in Central Park when the pond freezes over. A simple question but one he does not get an answer to because most people do not readily give such thoughts the time of day.
Holden though does not abandon the question and of course it is not as ridiculous as it first appears. Rather the ducks and the question of their survival is highly symbolic and relevant to his own personal journey.
Likewise, many of those thoughts that appear at first as random are in fact the psyche’s way of helping us figure stuff out. This is why they should not be disregarded or dismissed.
The Writing Process
So on those days when I do not feel like writing, I have developed the habit of grabbing my phone and pressing on the ‘New Story’ tab to bank these nebulous thoughts in a safe place before they vanish from my mind. They don’t all yield results, of course they don’t, but part of the process of writing is capturing ideas in their infancy and nurturing them to see what they may become.
That is as much a part of the writing process in fact as sitting at my desk double-checking a draft before finally pressing ‘Publish’.
Time spent capturing these ideas is time well spent because all writing begins with an idea. Better still, a bank of ideas!