A Big Picture’s Iniquities

A Big Picture's Iniquities Image provided by Tim Daniels
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How many articles, blogs post, and/or chapters in books have you read telling you to always have ‘the big picture’ in mind? I can’t even make a wild guess as to how many I’ve read. It’s a lot, I can assure you. Most of these readings talk about the goal. That thing at the end that tells you you’ve made it to your destination. Of course there should always be another goal, another ‘big picture’ after that, because, after all, life is an endless series of goals to be sought.

I don’t disagree with having goals. Gazing on the big picture is bound to give me motivation—sometimes. Without pondering about the outcome of whatever I’m doing, how will I know how far away or close I am to the finish line? How will I know that I’ve accomplished what I set out to do?

Nevertheless, always reaching to see that end result and trying to achieve those objectives may have a negative effect. It acts as an obstacle rather than a motivator. It may be stopping me from paying attention to the details of where I am right now. It could be pushing me forward before I’m adequately equip to move onward.

It’s easy to get caught up in the fast pace of how life is these days. The technical and digital world has me receiving information almost before I’ve requested it. The age almost demands that I progress in my endeavors at lightning speed. My one and only concern with this is I can’t process that fast. Even though when push comes to shove, I can find a quick solution to a problem, my normal speed of carrying out most tasks in my life is at a methodical rate. I’m not a speed demon by any means. Still, because of wanting to belong to the human race, I find myself propelling forward just so no one will gawk at me as if to say I’m less than they are. Yes, I know, a ridiculous way to perceive my fellow human beings, but true nonetheless.

My life journey is self-complicated by a feeling of always playing catch-up with everyone else. Sometimes I suspect there are others like me. I assume they’re the ones who didn’t win any of the races on field day at school and were eternally grateful for that one friend they had while everyone else was hanging out in groups. We are the “non-popular” ones. Popular people don’t need to play catch-up.

What is all this leading up to?

My writing, of course.

I need to get back to writing for the thrill of it. I need to forget about what word is the right one to use in order to make my story sell. My gosh, there isn’t any reason why I should be thinking about my story being sold, not until I get it all written anyway. I would be happier writing with the thought of just getting my thoughts down as they pour out of my soul.

Why do I need to know what the next three scenes are going to be about? Is it so I can write faster? I have a feeling that all that’s going to do is create unfinished details buried along the way, and anxiety I know I can do well without. Is it so I “know” what I’m writing about? I read somewhere that part of the fun of writing is the activity of discovery. I would say “knowing” gets in the way of that.

Oh, but what if I do go off the track a little, or even a lot? I can assure the world won’t end, not for you or me or anyone else. Maybe I’ll find another direction for my story by going off onto a tangent. Or maybe it’ll be the flowering idea of a second story.

Writing this, I’m beginning to see where I might have deranged my writing practice. Although creating outlines, diagrams, sketches, and summaries can definitely help a writer reach his/her goal, assuming that’s the only way I’m going to get any writing done is preposterous. The essays I’ve written that I like the best were penned on the cuff. There wasn’t much forethought to what I was going to write, how I was going to write them, or what angle I was going to use.

True, writing a book (if that’s what it’s going to be) is a little different. There should be a little planning. Still, I think my best bet is to stop trying to go “forward” all the time, and, instead, just write.

§

“Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us. In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals.” ~Don DeLillo

 

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11 Replies to “A Big Picture’s Iniquities”

  1. I have to agree with you. Sometimes focusing on the big picture, we miss out what’s happening around us. Also, perspectives and visions change over time. There’s nothing wrong with being slow, or writing at a slow pace. I write slow too. Sometimes it takes me an hour to even write two short paragraphs, a few lines. Maybe that’s when the perfectionist is me is coming out – I have to remind myself that nothing really is perfect on the first go. My first book is coming along extremely slowly. The editing process is challenging as I expected it but juggling work, it’s hard to find time to fine tune it alongside the blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mabel, although I have that tendency to be a perfectionist, I think I’m completely aware of the fact that whatever I write will never be up to my deep down personal standards. Nevertheless, spending more time to get as close as I can to what I want is the only way I seem to be able to go forward. Is this true with you too?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know. A lot of the time I find going away from what I love doing relieves stressed and I come back with a clearer mind. Then again, the more time I spend focused on writing, the more I get done.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think of the big picture differently. To me, the big picture is the context in which things are set, including my goals. The big picture is more like the solar system or the universe. Things that I don’t know about. Things I don’t need to care about. Things whose gravity subtly influences me in ways I can’t perceive. I think about it and I ignore it at the same time. I like your line above: “The technical and digital world has me receiving information almost before I’ve requested it.” If you haven’t requested it, you have a choice. Accept it as a gift for motivation or course alteration, or ignore it as the background noise of the universe. Good luck putting this all into perspective Glynis. I look forward to the outcome.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s an awful big picture you describe, Dan. What do you call the finish of a goal in your life?

      Truth be told, my perspective is pretty much on a straight road now. A few curves because that’s the way all things are in life, but no more hairpin curves and very few series of curves. I’ve stepped back in my serious writing, making it a hobby once again. It doesn’t need a goal or a ‘big picture’ now. This doesn’t mean I’ve stopped working on my WiP. I’ve just become more relaxed about the whole project. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s funny Glynis. I have so many specific and measured goals at work, I don’t set many outside of it. I don’t want writing to feel like work. I want to get better at working with photos. I want to write better dialog. I want to be able to create a character but these aren’t specific goals, more of a direction. I want to be able to explore some serious topics but I don’t feel that I can do that yet. I like projects that move at s relaxed pace. I hope you can be happy with your WIP.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve read that often too–to keep the big picture in mind, but I wonder… From a procedural viewpoint, is that really accurate? When I’m in the character’s head, s/he only knows what they’re faced with, not the big picture. That’s all I should reflect. Right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Jacqui. I’ve read so much about the beginning, the middle, and the end, yet I can’t think about the next faze until I get done with the current one. I’ve gone back to being a pantser for the most part. 😉

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