“People in this world look at things mistakenly, and think that what they do not understand must be the void. This is not the true void. This is bewilderment.”
-Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of 5 Rings
In the void, there is no such thing as good or bad. No one way of doing things is the correct way – or the wrong way. There’s just your way.
But the way of void isn’t easily accomplished. This spirit of
Take the feeling of being in The Zone when you’re writing. Some days, you sit down with a blank screen before you and words just fall right onto the page. They come easily, you’re on a roll and soon, you sit back, satisfied at the great job you’ve done. You might’ve even created a masterpiece – or close.
Creating Barriers for Yourself
But when you start to over-think about your writing, you begin hitting obstacles. You stress over each word, the concept gets muddy and thoughts refuse to flow. Nothing feels right and you may feel self-conscious.
When this happens to me, I step back. It’s always easier to go back into a project after letting it sit for a while than it is to delve into it when you’re stressed and unable to function properly.
I breathe and clear my mind. I begin writing. It doesn’t matter what I write, just as long as my fingers move over the keyboard and I’m getting my thoughts out.
If you’re not sure about how good your work might be, have someone objective read it. I ask James to do so often. I may feel my work missed the point but I can’t see where it derails from the subject. His eyes pick out exactly what I’m trying to say.
Suddenly everything comes into focus. I can rewrite what I’ve done to be more in line with the message I want to convey, or I know what to adjust to make the writing achieve its goals.
Learn All You Can – and Learn Some More
The common thread throughout Musashi’s teachings is that the warrior should study as many other forms of warfare as possible in order to become the best warrior he can.
When we shut ourselves off and believe we’ve learned all there is to learn, we stop growing. We cease to open our minds to new ideas or ways of working.
To attain the way of the warrior, study everything. To attain the way of the writer, fully study other ways of writing.
Pulling It All Together
By combining the other elements of Wind, Water, Fire, and Ground, you learn how to calm your spirit, regain your focus, and channel your energies towards your goals.
When you can do so without thinking of the actions, you’ll find yourself in the true void. In this space, everything is much sharper. You have no doubt in your mind that you can accomplish what others might deem impossible.
No one technique has enough strength to stand on its own. That is like laying down a brick and calling it a house. You need other materials to create a home.
Ground keeps you stable. Water helps you adapt in the face of adversity. Fire puts passion and thought into action. Wind helps you define your own personal style.