Writing for Clarity and Perspective

However, cheer up, and whenever you are fed up with life, start writing: ink is the great cure for all human ills, as I have found out long ago.

– C.S. Lewis

Something about the fact that I have capitalized both Clarity and Perspective in the title makes me think of them as some kind of Deities, flouncing around the modern Western World and taking special care to avoid our bureaucrats.

For a good week, I have been working on the conceptualization of my next story. I had some characters, a vague plot, and a vague setting. I wanted to deepen and widen these, so I had a better perspective on how exactly the story would work. Also, I wanted to begin outlining and I wasn’t ready yet. At my work, especially when I work closing hours, I often spend several hours alone.

The work is boring and monotonous, repetitive to the extreme. I thought, for the sake of making use of my brain during these times, it would be an excellent opportunity to let my mind wander in the subject of my next story and get some details ironed out.

Except that details are never accomplished while the mind wanders. My mind would slowly shut down, and my work would slow. Nothing would get accomplished for the story. One night I spoke with Jason, and accomplished more in twenty minutes than I could ever have hoped to in twenty days of work by myself. Jason had some good ideas and suggestions, but the most useful part for me was that he was acting as a sounding board.

Now I don’t want to insult my friend here and call him a sounding board. Rather, this is an indicator of a very GOOD friend! Hehe.

Later that night I drew into reflection about how I could achieve the same “sounding board” effect for myself, without stealing the time of my best friends and my fiance. Everyone has got enough on their plate without having to worry about my latest story concept.

If ever you have kept a reflective journal, or wrote poems to deal with your troubles or emotions or anxieties; in short, if ever you have written on a regular basis, with no real aim but to improve yourself, you might understand what I’m about to say.

Writing is the sounding board that allows you to talk to yourself.

How can I know what I’m thinking unless I can read what I’ve said?

– Dan Wells, Writing Excuses

You know how when a friend is going through a relationship problem, it’s SO easy to use your own experience to give good advice? Conversely, when you go thorough a similar problem – that very same advice is so far removed from where your brain is at, you needed a friend to point it out to you! And yet you knew the answer. Sometimes you are smarter than you think, but the smart part of yourself is not far removed enough from the problem to be able to see and analyze it.

Writing enables you to do that. And so once again, I encourage my friends to write – if not for enjoyment as I do, than for finding the answers that you already have in your vast mind.


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