Monday, August 03, 2009

Daily Uncertainty, Daily Strength

"Creativeness is correlated with the ability to withstand the lack of structure, the lack of future, the lack of predictability, of control, the tolerance for ambiguity, for planlessness." Maslow on Management, Abraham Maslow


In about my second year of freelancing (1973), I would walk from my parking place to my office in the mornings, often amazed that the buildings were already there and weren't something I had to fling up one either side of me as I walked. That's how unstructured self-employment felt a lot of the time then.

I often still feel that writing a novel is sketching the first step of a flight of stairs, stepping up onto it, then drawing another step that's supposed to hold my weight. And so on.

I'm not a great fan of ambiguity, though I do find an uncertain future (professionally) to be exciting. Most of us like some wobble room, and get nervous about other aspects of facing the great void. But getting used to that is part of the job; it goes with the turf.

The work is both conscious and unconscious. In addition to the discipline of writing, it requires some trust that the path you're on, with all its detours, is worth taking. Practically, that means staying willing to proceed even when you don't know what's up ahead.

E.L. Doctorow said that writing is like driving at night, you can only see as far as the headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.



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4 comments:

Debra W said...

Even when we think we know what's ahead, we never really know, do we?

Debra W said...

I love that my word verification for my last comment was "dance"!

Peggy Payne said...

It's probably useful to just assume that at all time, not just about the obviously iffy matters.

I've never seen one of these word jumbles turn into an actual word. I suspect your Angel Number Four has something to do with this.

Debra W said...

Yes, the timing in life is perfect, even when it doesn't always feel that way!

I usually get jumbles, too, so it's funny when a real word pops up that actually has some meaning.