gotta get me some of that flow
Deadline-arific. Heating up here on the push to May 1. I should decidedly not be wasting time blogging. I’m going to have to remove myself from my environment to get some work done. This is about the quickest and most effective way of getting my shit done. Library, coffee shop, whatever. I wish I could figure out why precisely and replicate it. Very similar to my sleep issues- visiting friends, on trips, having an organized schedule for a few days, I can get 6 hours and be completely kosher. Saturdays even, to an extent. But the standard day, where I try to get 8 hours of shut eye, know I can kinda arrive someplace in a certain time frame, I get 9 hours and I’m still exhausted. Totally mental. The division between work and play is psychologically huge. I guess one thing would be to start telling myself the script stuff is play compared to everything else. I enjoy doing it and I enjoy getting better. Hear that, brain? It’s F. U. N. Now get back to work!
The idea that attitude initiates productivity, okay, yeah, that’s not too original. Common sense, right? Sometimes you just don’t realize it though, so saying it is a step toward realizing it, mentally and physically. I came across a brief on the topic of Flow optimizing work and play (http://www.apa.org/monitor/jul98/joy.html) in which some U of Chicago Doc with consonant-superfluous name, kinda analyzes ‘the zone’ that everyone always talks about. As part of an examination on ‘a better life’, Csikszentmihalyi calls it ‘flow’ but it’s the same basic premise. This site summarizes Chicks-send-me-high’s lecture (http://www.austega.com/education/articles/flow.htm), and as I said it all seems pretty common sense when you look at it, but ‘Chiks’ ties it into some evolutionary human development and looking at it this way is almost-kinda a way for me to rationalize it. I mean… as an artist, I have no need for rationalization of what really should be the Muses (or Flying Spaghetti Monster as the case may be) communicating from me. Bah! Emotion! Feeling! That’s all I need! (But as an insecure little writer who can very easily drown herself in details and justifications, maybe, just maybe, it’s a little freeing….)
I have to admit it’s been a while since I felt flow when writing. Thinking back I can pinpoint ‘flow’ when I’m learning something, like the 3D modeling that I mentioned previously, but in the past, I know I would lose whole weekends to learning Photoshop, programming and editing back in college. The accumulation of knowledge, and that curve of skill increase is addictive. Writing however, tends to be a little less tangiable than mastering Rotoscope and making your friends have their own lightsaber battles in Final Cut. Rob Jellinghaus states nicely (http://www.unrealities.com/essays/flow.htm) what I think one possible angle for why I have a hard time narrowing down my ‘flow’ experiences (holy cow, that sounds disgustingly biological) while writing is that one of the key angles in ‘Chiks’ theory is:
Some activities lend themselves to flow. Immediate feedback, commensurate challenges and skills, and clear goals are all precursors to flow. Lack of these makes flow difficult to achieve.
And writing, man that immediate feedback, that’s kinda hard to get. With art being so visual it’s a sublime awareness of if the craft has accomplished what you set out to do. Look at it. Does it emote? Yes or no. With my writing lately I’ve gotten so analytical, justifying this scene, this location, this conflict, this plot point, whatever, I can’t read it myself now and say, okay this is accomplishing what I want? I may have one slug line where a character picks up a button, but is the reader going to notice that or just float over it. You can CAP it, to draw attention, but then I feel like I’m showing my hand early. THEN you go scale, the dialogue works, the scene works- Does the sequence work? Does the Act work? Does the whole damn thing work?! *head asploded!* That’s the craft of all this, the agonizing and eventually trusting yourself and your choices. And hell I don’t even trust myself to wake up on time.
So I definitely got a feeling for this ‘flow’ jibbajab, I just gotta figure out some method to induce it. Meanwhile I checked out Wikipedia’s insane entry on ‘Motivation’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motivation) which is about as extensive as any I’ve ever seen. Obviously I’m not the only one which it elludes. From there I’ve wandered over to the Nootropics, because like any good american, I just want a pill to fix everything for me. As my dear friend Cory cannot yet prescribe medication, (hurry up you 18-hour study day SLACKER!) I’ll have to look into the vitamin options. Can it really hurt? Oh and hey if you know any Voodoo Priests drop me an email, too.