Friday, October 18, 2013

Thoughtful Inaction

There was one these ancient things in the apartment
 I lived in from a very early age.
Recently I have spent entirely too much time thinking about writing more than actually writing more. I suppose that this is a touchstone of the human experience. We spend exponentially more time thinking - dreaming, wishing - about the things we'd like to do - experience, achieve - than we actually spend time doing those things.

Is that all bad? I would argue that, up to a point, no, it's not all bad. I think we're all well aware that if we acted on each impulse or "great idea" we came up with, then we'd all be in heaps more trouble than we already are. Ideas take processing. Thoughts need chewing. Sometimes the wisest action we can take is a well planned moment of inaction.

But - and I'm preaching to myself here - "thoughtful inaction" can soon become an excuse for well-pondered lack of effort. I've enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember. I have journals that I started keeping from second grade. As my brother reminded me today, I began writing science fiction since fifth grade (ripping off character names and plot ideas from someone else's creativity; Hollywood calls it a "reboot"; my critics called it "lack of imagination"). 

When I was fourteen or so I bought "The Writer's Guide to the Christian Publishing Market" and began submitting unsolicited articles to magazines. Boy, I was pretentious back then. (But not now, no, of course not, don't be silly). 

I've been published exactly once and it was a great feeling; a really great feeling in fact. But pretty much ever since then I've stopped writing for anything but what has been assigned to me ("Write this paper"; "Turn in this this assignment;" "Craft this sermon"; "Sign this birthday card"). And while that has only further helped craft my skills (my birthday card signature is awesome), it is not always the most life-giving thing to write only because someone else has asked you too. 

Even brownies, when forced to eat them, lose their sweetness.

And so I think it's time to put a little sweetness back into this whole writing thing. To attempt to write well, not because a grade demands it, but because it's what I would like to do.

Enough thoughtful inaction. It's time for thoughtful action; action in the form of well-crafted words. 

Here goes.


  1. I have never been forced to eat a brownie, but I can not wait to read on!

  2. Neither have I, truth be told. Honestly, the scene I had in mind was in the movie "Matilda" when that kid was forced to eat a whole cake, and how miserable it looked.