The Stillness of Thinking and Writing

When was the last time you simply stopped doing all things, sat, and thought?

I find that I am always on my phone, computer or even tablet when I’m cooking, watching television, writing, working…you name it. I am always multitasking, but for what reason?

I came to realize that really the only time I am focusing is at the movie theater and the five seconds before I fall asleep and the television has just been turned off.

The other morning I caught the end of a segment on television about Ernest Hemingway and how he used to constantly edit his work to utter perfection (the narrator stated that most writers today would have never thrown away what Hemingway did). Note I have never followed anything on Hemingway or read his work, yet it still made me think. Did he win the Nobel Prize in Literature for his perfection? And did that perfection come from a time when there were not five hundred other outlets distracting a writer? When a writer sits down to write, most use a computer, for Hemingway it was pen and paper or a typewriter, not a social media filled distraction hole. It was a library of books and an adventure outside, not a Google search engine and Wikipedia pages.

Has the quality of writing shifted because of this? Has society changed our expectations? Would our writing and reading shift if we switched our current ways back to historic ways?

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7 comments

  1. Thought-provoking questions. I read a brief bio on Emily Dickinson. The editor she sent most of her poems to “fixed” her poetry to conform with the style of day before publishing them. Luckily, her poems were restored to their original state in later publications of her work. Interesting.

  2. I am always multitasking. On the rare occasion when I shut down the computer and step outside to take a walk or whatever, it feels like I’ve stepped back to a more peaceful time–before the internet!

  3. I find that I’m always on my phone or computer too. After awhile, I think I need real people in real time to talk to. I know what you mean though. We were able to visit one of Hemingways’ houses in Key West. He had a private area out back in a tree house type of setting they said he did much of his work there. It was such a peaceful setting. I was thinking how inspiring it felt. Made me want to get my paints out & paint something. I always feel like painting when i’m in florida. Not very much inspiration in Ohio. At least not for me. Enjoyed reading your post.

    • It is funny that you feel like painting in Florida, but not in Ohio. I spent many summers in Minnesota and Wisconsin as a child, and I find that area to be immensely inspiring. The landscape and seasons cause endless ideas for writing. Thanks for commenting and stopping by Lisa πŸ™‚

  4. I’ve often thought that our devices have become a burden at times, especially to the writer. We feel we must look, scroll, and answer. I agree with you that we need to think unchained and return to how the great writers of the past lived. Simple. Free. Creative. Deep.

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