Holding a position

In my last post I suggested that, for me, writing is a little like stretching. I need to do it often in order to be able to move further. Stretching is something I quite like. Much of it comes to me quite naturally and I like how, with a bit of focus, something that was a bit painful can come to feel satisfying. When my body no longer protests, I can allow it to stretch further and so even the pauses only exist in order to allow for more movement. Stretches are usually described in terms of trying to get somewhere (e.g. for your hands to reach past your toes).

Balancing, on the other hand, is something I have never been quite so good at. Balancing involves keeping still and holding a position when it would be easier not to be in that position. Sometimes I can balance a bit better when I focus on pushing against something (e.g. pushing against the floor). However, other balances can only be held if I can manage to use the strength of certain muscles in order to keep the rest of my body still.

I have always been aware that I find it easier to be moving somewhere than to be building the strength to remain still, whether the situation involves a physical demand on my body or an intellectual demand. I do not think that writing is ever completely about remaining still but, like balancing, sometimes it demands a great deal of strength building and a great deal of focus must be directed towards minimizing movement. Moving towards new ideas and arguments can be challenging, but it is enjoyable and as soon as something is no longer too challenging I can push forward to the next part of the idea. However, being able to present my own ideas and challenges seems to involve finding a position and exercising ever greater control in order to hold the position. The adjustments required might be quite large in the first draft, and there might be the occasional break down or drop to the floor, but with time the movements can become smaller and the position can be held.

An implication the analogies of stretching and balancing seem to offer for my understanding of writing is that, while writing may demanding ‘sticking with it’ in order to work through the discomfort and move further, writing also demands focus.

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