Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Done Thinking; Out Manifesting

Every great work, every big accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the big achievement, comes apparent failure and discouragement.-Florence Scovel Shinn

The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps – we must step up the stairs.-Vance Havner

First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.-Epictetus

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced.-John Keats

When a writer is creating a piece, he or she cannot possibly know what’s coming next. The journey of creating anything is analogous to the act of feeling around to see what exists in the dark. You discover bits and pieces of the whole individually and then find the connections later. There is no “yellow brick road” to follow, no sure technique or path that will get you over the last rung. You’ve simply got to trust the voices of your characters, and hope that they’ll lead you to the envisioned destination.

Everything is discovered word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph. More importantly, that discovery is hardly “set in stone” or “final.” It is subject to change at any time. The ambiguity in the writing process is analogous to a treasure hunt in a darkened cave with nothing but a small candle flame or flashlight. Who knows what you’ll find and who knows when or how. To further complicate matters, what you think you may see may not be what it first appears to be.

There will be struggles, there will be ambiguity, but there will also be plenty of exhilaration and living if the writer allows himself to let the process lead the writing and the journey. Intuition has a funny way of revealing its mystery at the end of that path, and the only way to get there is to feel each and every scene that it unravels on the way.


  1. I totally agree with this assessment and I'm writing non-fiction, where I research each poet I study with a whole schema in mind that explains the creative process in general. I've been working on it for sixteen years and it is still exhilarating, there are still surprises; but the whole work seems to create itself as the intertextual resonances, the rhymes and reasons, sort themselves out.

    A poet is a highly sensitive person and you have to be a highly sensitive person to understand and empathize with their creative process. Hopefully, you will find enough highly sensitive people who are as enthralled as you are to appreciate the end result of your own creative path.

    www.carolebrooksplatt.com rightmindmatters.blogspot.com

  2. Thanks for your insight, Carole.

    Yes, this applies to writing, but also to the journey of creating your own life/self as well.