“If you don’t want a house built, hide the nails and wood. If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. … Give the people contests they win by remembering words to popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving.”
Beatty, “Fahrenheit 451”
Last year, I came to a realization while reading a how-to book on disciplined writing and steps to stay on track. All its pages, filled with lessons and tips, could have easily been summed up in two quick steps:
(1) Put this book down.
I’ve cut back on my writing books and blogs since then. There’s only so much information and motivation one can extract from these sources before it’s time to pick up the pen, guitar, or other weapon of choice and get to work. Too often, I become content with the idea of writing or playing music, as if reading or thinking about it somehow puts words on the page. That’s “motion without moving”, creative paralysis.
Speaking of which, I need to get started on a writing project.