Moments In Writing: Seizing the Moment

My previous "Moments In Writing" piece was about knowing when to let go of a gem: the moment you decide to put aside a gold nugget for the benefit of a piece of writing. Today, I wanted to write about what may seem like a contrary idea, but it's not, I promise. The idea: Seizing the moment. Seizing the opportunity to exercise your writing muscles. Using a thought and running.

I'm referring to seizing an ability to write. Seizing moments of thought and production. It's important to know when to let go of something great for added coherence, but it's also important to write without question. These are entirely separate thoughts, because the moment of letting go of a gem happens further down the timeline of writing. I'm referring to the moment you decide to dedicate your brain to writing, and nothing else. To even create a gem, you need to have already seized the moment.

Leaving gems behind is an example of patience. It's important to be patient with your ideas and content, but not with your brain and work ethic. When ideas and coherence are hard to find, it's not because your brain is completely off, it's just because your brain is in the wrong space. The only way to find the correct space, is to let go of all patience, and write.

Any effective writer will tell you, that it doesn't matter what state of mind you are in, you need to work. And work. And write. And work. If you want to write, you have to write. A lot. If you're tired, depressed, hammered, busy... You need to dedicate time to writing. Ideas are the root of all writing, but without writing, the idea is nothing. Think about it, what is a root without a tree?

So, seize the moment. If you ever think, "Hmm, that's interesting," write about it. Go. Start ripping. Don't worry. Don't think. The worst thing to do is contemplate ideas. Get ideas on paper. Until tangible, an idea cannot exist. Write it, then read it, then edit. Your own ideas look different going in than they do coming out. Our talented brains are not talented enough to know that ink is merely a mold of the craziness in our heads.

Consider this: there was a 50/50 chance that, when I started this very post, I wouldn't publish it. So, create without question. Only until you produce something, can you know that it's worthwhile. "While," being a period of time. You can't spend "time" on something that does not exist.

It is fine if those ideas are influenced in the moment, also, thanks to editing. If you're bombed and you decide to write, at least you wrote. You see? You can't edit something in your head; something you thought about writing. We have all seen some variation of the television show, where someone has a great idea, doesn't write it down, thinks they'll remember it, then forgets it (most notably, a season 3 episode of Mad Men I recently watched). Don't let that happen. Thoughts are specific to the moment that you have them. You never have the same thought twice. So seize the moment. Write. Write things down. Take notes. Contemplate on paper. Just think of a piece of paper as the space in your brain currently occupied by thought. When you write, you are taking a photo of that space.

Seizing the moment is knowing when to question yourself. Don't question before writing. Don't question when you are about to write. You should only ask questions of produced content; after you have already written. Every time you have ever produced any kind of semi-finished work, it started with you seizing the moment.

It's a moment that needs to become a habit for every writer. Should you feel any momentum, of any kind, ride that momentum. It doesn't matter where it takes you, it only matters that it takes you somewhere. Seize the moment. Seize momentum. Write.


Brian H.