A very wise person once told me not to think, but to do. I agree to a point – we can think ourselves to death without accomplishing more than dusting a room. There comes a point when you have to do or … for lack of a better euphemism, die.
But that isn't what this post is about. I think there are times when we have to think before we can do.
The beginning of a book is a good example. Yes, we can dive right in and quickly create 100 pages of story with no idea of where we're going. But are those 100 solid pages – pages an agent or editor will love? Or are those pages random pages that aren't really part of the story we want to tell? For authors with hundreds of books under their belts, those 100 pages might very well be the beginning of their book, but for those of us still on the publishing journey, those 100 pages might not be. They may be mere filler or – horror of horrors! - backstory.
So, I like to think about the book before I start. Most times that thinking turns into an outline of sorts or at least a listing of plot points I want to hit. There will be a theme in there, sometimes hidden, and I'll find the core story of that book. But first I have to think about it. I can't just 'do it', Nike be damned.
There are other times I need to think, too. There are days – sometimes weeks – when family pressures, life, work make me think very hard about this life I've chosen to lead. Because I have chosen it. I believe that intrinsically I'm a writer, but I don't have to pursue that choice. I could hang it up..with several rejects, albeit good rejections, in hand, some would say I should give it up and just write for fun or pleasure.
They don't realize that I already am. Yes, I view writing as my job and I'm hoping that sooner rather than later this job will be a paid job. But in the meantime, I have days when I think about what I've chosen to do and wonder if it's the right choice. Invariably, I decide that it is and I'm and and I continue on. Usually my thinking doesn't last more than a day, sometimes less than an hour. The key is, that I do think about it. I think about the beginnings of books, the middles and the ends. I think about my chosen profession, whether I want to continue on the path, whether I want to pursue print publication or e-pub...the list goes on.
That wise person who told me that I should do instead of think is right – we must 'do' to move forward, but I think we also have to give ourselves permission to question. As long as the questioning doesn't turn into a lifetime of questions without answers. What about you?