One of the things I love about writing is what, over the years, I’ve come to know as The Flow. It’s that Time beyond time. It’s when the words come, in a smooth rush or a river of images, and I no longer feel I’m “in control” of the story. The Voice that rings in my body resounds like a bell tolling inside. I’m not really sitting at my desk or table or even really conscious of myself anymore. I become the pen and the ink rolling, spreading, curving on the page, the Energy of the Story as it comes. To me, as an artist, those moments are sacred. It’s a kind of surrender to intuition — I love that.
(Incidentally, I feel the same way about prayer. Fixed words usually don’t do it for me. Intuition and opening myself up to the larger Creative force feels more honest, more in-the-moment.)
There have been periods when I’ve written for 13 hours and not noticed that time has passed. It’s a kind of joyous absorption in something larger than myself.
What I know as F L O W,Â Robert Olen Butler, in his creative writing book FROM WHERE YOU DREAM, calls a “trancelike state”. And there are things we all do to slip into the trance. Me personally? I light a candle. I say whatever prayer comes to mind, mostly in the form of “Thank You, thank You, thank You for this precious time.” Or “Let me hear what needs to be heard.”
But these last two days, with my son home and sick and the trick of learning how to balance historical research with creative writing, email to respond to, deadlines, and catching a virus — well, it’s been less F L O W than Stop’n’Go. *lol*
You know those kind of days? When life seems to conspire against your showing up on the Page? Yes, time to cultivate a little patience and nudge my sense of humor.
Does F L O WÂ work the same way for musicians? Painters? Sculptors? Other writers? I wonder.