Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Finding the Zen in your Writing

Finding the Zen in your Writing

Writing can be quite a hair pulling, blood boiling, and head banging experience, and honestly, this happens to all of us, even the best writers will feel like throwing their computer against the wall every now and then. Many dub this ‘Frustrated Writer’s Syndrome’. While Dan Brown copes with his writer’s block by donning a pair of gravity boots to hang upside down, other writers, like Jonathan Franzen, play white noise in the background to get the work done. It doesn’t matter what approach is applied, as long as you don’t start lashing out your frustrations at someone within proximity.
 Finding the Zen in your writing isn’t a difficult process; it only requires a little touch of patience, some amounts of practice, and heaps of passion for what you’re writing. If you find something that is contributing to a growing aneurysm, don’t waste the hours that you’ll never get back by getting exasperated by it. Simply remove it from your system; put a muffler on that Schnauzer that won’t stop barking, fix the dripping tap that annoys you to no ends, or suspend your internet connection so you’ll stop ogling at everyone else’s perfect lives.

Let’s acknowledge from the very beginning that great work takes patience. Patience is becoming an increasingly rare virtue to have, especially since the Y-generation is accustomed to getting instant gratification. But what makes you think that the best ideas developed over night? Even God, who could snap his fingers and create entire continents, took seven twenty-four-hour days to create the world. Evidently, even the big man up there valued perseverance and fortitude.

Ever heard of “good things come to those who wait”? Well, it might be time to burst your bubble, because waiting without any action is simply being a sitting duck. Practice, practice, and only practice can make you any better than you already are. Imagine running a full marathon with two miles of training under your belt; it’s a pointless tease. Don’t procrastinate and put off writing any longer; it doesn’t matter if you don’t have the full idea mapped out in a complex web yet -- get some writing, any writing, done. You just have to decide to start. It’s almost like muscle memory; some days will be easier than others, but with persistence and consistency, your brain and fingers will miraculously decide to cooperate with one another. Slowly but surely, you’ll find your equilibrium, and it only gets easier.

The difference between writing that is full of love, gusto, and fun is vastly different from one that is uninspiring and created out of necessity. Surely, we don’t want to end up with a book that is only good as a coaster, to prop up a short table leg, or to build a fire. One thing you should be while writing is excited; otherwise, you might as well be doing manual word counts for authors; it might just be better for your sanity. Another thing about passion is that the more passionate you are about something, the more effort you’ll want to put into it. It’s a simple concept really: do what you love, and the rest will follow.

Eliminate the Enemy
You know the funny thing about humans is that no matter how seemingly intelligent a person is, we are all governed by one thing that plagues us all – irrational behavior. If the remote control ran out of battery, no amount of slapping it against your palm, or pushing down on the button with all the might of your index finger, is going to do anything to solve the problem. Walk down to the store, buy a pack of batteries, and change it. Voila. Applying this to writing, if grammar check and syntaxes are making you lose your marbles, calm down; you don’t have to go back to grade school, and the world isn’t coming to an end. If the efforts of having an error-free manuscript usually turn you into the night of the living dead, eliminate your frustration completely. There’re so many solutions out there to ensure a 100% accuracy rate on every document. Tools such as Grammarly can scan your entire document for errors, from conspicuous grammatical mistakes to subtle sentence structures and spelling mistakes. It picks out on errors even word processing programs often miss out. You might have just found the solution to your sleepless nights and hair loss.

So now, I guess it’s time to stop venting your anger on innocent pens, paper, and God forbid, another poor soul. Keep your sanity and apply the art of being Zen in your writing.

Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children’s novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, traveling, and reading.

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