I had a professor who hated the word “flow.” We were not allowed to say it in class and when someone new to this prof or class would say it, we would all turn to the instructor as she launched into a near spasm of “O”ing her lips, rolling her eyes, and throwing her head back in dramatic fashion.
Sometimes she wouldn’t verbalize to the newbie, so they would glance around wondering if she needed a medic, then someone would lean over and explain to the student, “we don’t use that word.”
BUT WHY NOT?
Well, I don’t know what her issues were; she had A LOT of them.
As I launched into my own new flow of the week, I thought there is no better word for it.
A river flows, it twists and bends and moves around boulders, tree trunks, rolls over rocks or sticks and, when it hits a new blockage, it flows around or under or over. That’s what writing feels like when it’s going well. You’re in a rhythm and you’re moving and it feels like nothing can stop you!
I feel like when you’re in the flow – other ideas come; you’re all juiced up, moving at maximum speed, and it paves way for and welcomes fresh and new streams of thought.
It’s important not to lose that feeling. Write until you can write no more and then you can’t wait to come back to it. And the sooner you jump right in again, the sooner the flow resumes.
When you stop, the longer you stop for, you risk becoming stagnant. Just like a river. It takes more effort to get restarted, to push away the junk that has gathered and blocked the movement.
One thought on “Maximum Flow”
Did that sour puss professor ever explain her aversion to the word flow? I think it is perfect for any creative endeavor, including, of course, writing. When I’m within that flow, I sometimes feel I’m channeling some external creative force and I am as much of a conduit as I am the creator. When really in the flow it’s akin to automatic writing, and places become real and characters take on a life of their own. That professor missed her calling- she probably should have been in the engineering department.