Friday, April 8, 2016

Flow: A-Z Challenge

My themes for this year’s A-Z challenge are writing, the writer’s life, and living in the creative flow.

One thing that I’ve come to realize since I’ve started writing, and speaking about writing, and writing about writing, and teaching about writing…

not everyone has experienced that state sometimes referred to as Creative Flow.

From a psychological prospective, this interests me to no end.

For one, I wonder if these people really have not experienced this state, or simply have not recognized and labeled it as such.

Secondly, it raises all these questions I have about our collective presumptions that others have the same set of psychological experiences in the first place.

I certainly could not have labeled and defined this experience much before I started teaching and discussing the writing process with others. I now realize that the state is very similar to when I have been completely engrossed in reading a book. The words disappear and the conscious cognitive process of “reading” takes a backseat of sorts.

It is similar when I get into a writing flow, but not as completely immersive. Quite possibly because there are still so many physical functions to perform—who knows?

When I am deep into writing, I see the action projecting, feel the characters’ emotions, hear their words spoken—just like when I’m reading a book that has captured and temporarily shackled my conscious attention and shoved it away in my psychological basement.

I lose the world around me and dive deep into this other world.

Consequently, I love this place. I always have, ever since books became my thing. It is always an enormous annoyance to me to be dragged away from this space by “the real world”—especially the phone!

(I could write an entire hate rant about phones, but I’m off topic.)

So what is this creative flow?

It is hardest to explain or discuss with those who have never either experienced it or really thought about it. One outcome I will admit to is that often when I’ve spent an hour or two writing, I can read back over what I’ve written and I don’t fully remember writing everything that’s there.

Have you ever been driving your car and found yourself on autopilot? Have you had that experience of suddenly “waking up” at your destination, or near it, and realizing that you don’t really remember getting there? It’s most obvious to me when I find that I have autopiloted myself to a frequent location, like my home, that I didn’t intend to go to—damn, I needed to pick up milk first!

Something a bit like that.

It’s the ability to lose yourself and your surrounding and get completely lost inside your own head.

Lost in your own story.

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