Writing From the Void

Normally when I want to write a new blog post, I take a few minutes to tune into an idea, and then it begins to flow into writing. Getting an idea involves listening with my inner senses, as if I’m scanning some electromagnetic field for signal matches. When I discover a match, I can lock onto it, and then it’s rather easy to let the idea flow through into words.

The idea comes through as energy that I perceive as oscillations in my thoughts, and it combines with memories and other knowledge as I write. So first I get an initial sense of the idea in my mind, but it’s really through the process of writing that I grow into a full understanding of what’s being expressed.

So I don’t really know what article I’m writing till it’s written. Sometimes I can only see the beginning third of it or so, and the rest comes into view after I’ve written part of it.

I also get ideas from other sources, like people making suggestions. But the best articles that people appreciate most are usually writing with the process of scanning for inspiration and inviting it to flow through. I’ve shared more about this process in the article How I Write.

An interesting thing that happened today was that when I tried to summon an article idea, nothing actually came through. I sensed that the field of energy that I normally gather ideas from had gone silent. This happens now and then, and usually what I do is just assume that I don’t need to write anything at that particular time. I figure there’s no message to deliver. So I don’t write anything on those days, or I try again later in the day.

Usually when nothing comes through, it’s because there’s some inspiration to be followed in a different direction that doesn’t involve writing. I have to broaden my idea scanning to include more frequencies, not just the ones in the writing ideas spectrum. Then I usually notice that I’m pulled towards an idea for what to do next. It could be a business idea or a personal idea. When I sense the energy signature of an aligned idea, I like to flow into it with action right away.

Today, however, when I did the broader scanning and invitation process, still nothing came through in any direction. That seemed odd, but it does happen now and then too. So I decided to just sit with that for a while. I sat and did nothing and waited. If the inspiration field is silent, perhaps doing nothing for a while is the right course of action.

Eventually I got the idea to try an experiment, which was to write in a different way. Instead of waiting for some signal to come through, I popped open my journal and decided to write from within the space of nothingness. No special inspiration. No ideas coming through. Just write from the void. You’re reading that journal entry now.

I began thinking about how many writers write every day whether they feel inspired or not. I almost always wait for inspiration. But what happens when my timing and the timing of the inspiration don’t coincide? That’s a concern for this year because of my one-year daily blogging commitment. Can I expect that I’ll always be able to write from inspiration as I have in years past if I’m doing this more frequently than ever?

I’ve gone to the well of ideas so many times before, and the ideas feel like they already exist in some form, like they’re grapes growing on a vine, and I’m plucking a grape off the vine. Then my assignment is to consume and digest that grape and turn it into a new article. The vine still feels like it has an abundance of grapes, but I also feel that perhaps it’s time to explore some other idea space and leave the grapes to others sometimes.

These signals often feel like they’re coming from other people. It feels like I’m tuning into what someone out there wants helps with, and then I write an article for that person. I often feel like I’m tuned into the energy of an individual or perhaps a small group of people with similar desires when I write new articles.

Something I value about this daily blogging challenge, however, is the opportunity to explore other aspects of writing and self-expression that I may not have considered as much. I’ve leaned on a certain mode for getting ideas for so long that it’s second nature to me. And so it feels a little too easy to keep leaning on that skill.

Today is my 100th day in a row of blogging (I started on December 24th). So I don’t have any doubt that I can keep this up for a full year. But writing every day with the same approach I’ve been using feels like hanging out on a plateau. I think what I’ve been sensing lately, especially with respect to having my own wake-up call, is a desire to move beyond this familiar and comfortable mode of writing. It’s easy. It’s abundant. I can write that way all day and produce an infinite stream of content. But I’m not seeing much inner growth in repeating the same approach day after day.

I can also switch media like doing video and audio, but I’ve done that as well, and I still summon ideas using the same approach, so it doesn’t really feel new. It only felt new up to the point where I grew just as comfortable creating through other media, but then it’s pretty much the same.

I look around and see a world full of self-expression. Every day people are cranking out more and more content and consuming the content of others. While initially I found that fascinating and fun to participate in, now it feels a bit too boring and predictable if I keep using the same approach. It’s an infinite game, but it feels overly bounded to me.

I’m going to continue the daily blogging challenge, but I want to explore other ways of doing this going forward, especially in terms of how I generate ideas. It’s appealing to seek ideas in frequency ranges where I’m not used to scanning. I’m really not sure what form that will take or what it will look like. And I really don’t even know where to begin. I just sense that it’s time to mix things up.

This isn’t an April Fools’ joke by the way. I thought about doing one, but that also feels a bit cliché, and if you can believe this, I’m actually still getting emails every month from people falling for the one from 2011. It’s been eye-opening to discover just how many people would like to be enslaved. So I have to consider how a playful joke may affect my email inbox for the next decade or so.

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Read Writing From the Void by Steve Pavlina