Sunday, September 21, 2014


Writing Can Be Effortless

Take It As It Comes:

Believing that writing can be effortless when an assignment is due may require a good stretch of the imagination or an act of faith. Still, I do claim that writing can be effortless no matter what the writing task at hand is. This effortless attitude comes about when we learn to trust our own minds.

Like Popping Corn:

Our minds function automatically without us standing before orchestrated thoughts, waving a baton and directing the ideas how to proceed. We need to make friends with our mind and observe how it operates as we perform tasks like writing or even reading. One of the simplest observations we can make is that ideas keep popping up in our minds just like popping corn. We don’t have to manufacture them; we can just wait for the next idea to emerge and then the next one after that.

Embrace the Flow:

This notion of effortlessness includes an intention to be receptive to ideas that do emerge. We needn’t judge or critique an idea, especially in the first spate of drafting. Honor the impulse of the mind to send up an idea for our use.  Later we can choose to analyze the idea, refine the expression of the idea, or alter it any way we please. We can even omit it in a later draft. Initially, however, we need to embrace the flow of ideas that emerge and let the logic of the mind connect one thought to another.

Surprising Insights:

This free-ranging receptivity can often yield surprising results as our text begins to emerge. Notions we’ve never even considered before may float to the surface and reveal surprisingly deep insights about our topic. We may have had tangential experiences that can bear fruit in this composing process that we might not ordinarily consider but which the deeper levels of our mind saw as being relevant. Welcome those happy surprises and move on to the next idea.

Is Revision Needed?

If writing can be effortless, does that mean we don’t have to revise? Well, no, we do still have to revise. See my post called “Revising Is a Layered Affair,” but for now, just know that the initial stage of writing can be effortless, and that we can trust our minds to supply us with yet one more thought. So, let those thoughts flow.



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© Seanyu |


Flying corn in field


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© Michej |


Green creek






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