In recording my upcoming episode about a new strategy to make goals work for you, I use an example of how sometimes it’s best to ignore the BIG goal of writing a novel. Instead focus on writing just one good sentence.
There’s power in that, though some may argue it is EASIER to write a whole novel than one truly great sentence! It’s a thought that has been completely locked into my brain for the past week or so since I recorded the episode.
Write one good sentence.
I’m going to get a little personal here for a moment. Christmas has come and gone and honestly it left me feeling empty. I’m dealing with a lot of personal stuff that has me simply feeling overwhelmed.
The best way I can describe it is as if I’m in a raging sea, lightning and thunder rage around me. I’m not in a boat, instead being tossed every which way based on the will of the waves. The dark water churning angrily, pulling me under one second and spitting me out the next.
Through it all there are small moments I latch onto. Fleeting thoughts that just keep swimming back to my vision. Writing just one good sentence is one such thought.
It’s about more than writing though.
As I’m feeling overwhelmed and fighting through the unknown, it’s a need to simplify. To clarify.
A desire to be able to strip away the chaos, even if momentarily, so I can find solid footing. So I can see the path ahead.
I saw a post on Twitter recently about how the world seems to have become so used to the deafening noise that we’ve become unable to sit in silence. This is about more than just social media, television, or any other external source of “noise”.
It’s a critical key in trying to tame the sea I’m in. The sea I know a lot of you are in as well. The sea is raging so hard, so loudly, that we can’t hear each other calling for help. There is no taming the sea, it’s beyond our control.
Seeking silence. Simplifying. Writing one good sentence.
THAT is what we have in our control. It’s no longer the voices in our heads that trouble us. It’s the roaring cacophony that surrounds us every moment of every day. The deafening chorus that we INVITE into our minds because we are afraid of the silence.
But the silence. The simplicity. It’s how we recharge. It is where ideas can go from seeds to sprouting saplings to fully formed trees. Without the silence, we are lucky to have one or two ideas actually take root and grow.
Within that simplicity, however, we experience the growth of an entire forest of ideas. Tree after tree, branching this way and that, our ideas and our personal mental health can thrive. The path ahead, if even just for a few more steps, becomes a touch calmer. Our creative focus, creative growth, continues to move in the right direction.
And all of this is possible by focusing on simplicity. Leaning into and appreciating the silence.
Navigating the overwhelming sea of deafening chaos becomes manageable in the power of creating just one good sentence.
David (Usually Dave) Szweduik is a photographer, podcaster, and all around geek from the great state of Minnesota and can be found weekly on his podcast Adventures in Creativity. There you’ll find him having conversations fueled by curiosity around the amazing world of all things creativity. If you want even more terrific creativity based content, feel free to join the fun with the Newsletter!