Problem Solving Inc. by Andrew Mocete

I wish remembered where, but I once read a interview with John Lennon about his song writing process.  What struck me most was he told the interviewer he’ll sometimes stare at his instrument for hours without writing a single note.  The next day might be the same thing and day after that too.  For him, this was being productive because he knew his mind was working things out and eventually the music would come.

For someone highly respected and considered a genius at his craft to have gone through the same aspect of the writing process as I did was huge.

How many times have you stared at a blank page with no idea where the story is supposed to go?  How many times has what you’ve written looked wrong and you knew it needed something more, but didn’t know what?  Well according to John Lennon, this is part of the process.

When we get stuck, we get frustrated because it feels like we’re not getting anything done.  But then there’s that eureka moment where it all makes sense and we wonder why it took so long to figure it out in the first place.

I don’t know why these solutions come the way they do, but I do know there’s a part of my brain working around the clock solving my problems.  And there’s a lot of them.  So how does my staff of diligent neurons decide which of my many issues to work on?  I think it’s a kind of *whatever voice is loudest gets seen first* type of thing.  A problem on your mind will cause you stress which affects your overall health.  It only makes sense to solve that problem first.

If you’re making time to develop your skills as an author everyday, then when a problem does come up, that little section of your brain will keep working until it’s solved.  Conversely, if you only develop your skills when the mood strikes, problems will get solved when and if your brain can get to them.

Staring at that blank page or ugly looking chapter may seem unproductive, but it’s telling your brain what you’re doing is a priority.   It’ll get the message and help you reach your goals.


Andrew Mocete

12 thoughts on “Problem Solving Inc. by Andrew Mocete

  1. I like this post…sometimes, I see evidence of what you’re describing when the characters of my novel appear in my dreams!

    Or sometime during the day or night, when I’m doing something else, the idea will come to me.

    Thanks for sharing….

  2. Nice post, Andrew! I think it’s important to give yourself time to work things out, to daydream, to brainstorm, to let your mind wander while you’re driving with the music up really loud (that’s my personal favorite). Otherwise, your story won’t have room to breathe, and that breathing room is what allows it to grow. And it seems that we’re in good company with Mr. Lennon. 🙂

    1. I agree Claire. Daydreaming is such an important tool for a writer and it’s so easy to do! The other day I wasn’t even thinking about writing, just zoning, and a news story came up on TV. By the time it was over I knew what I wanted my next book to be about. I love when that happens!

  3. There’s something to be said for re-charging the brain…so the right side can gestate then reconnect with the left, so you can put the images into a rational pattern . It always amazes me when I’ll be stuck at a point in the story, let it go for the night, then sit back down the next night and go, “Oh! Of course…”. Thanks for reminding me about the notebook, Andrew. It somehow keeps migrating out of my purse, so I don’t have it during the ‘ah ha’ moments.

  4. Great post! In my other head space as a programmer, I know this is true. I can often stare at code for an hour without a logical thought to accompany it, and then the solution to my problem seems to materialize out of the ether. And, the more writing I do, the more it starts to happen there, too.

  5. It’s interesting to look at the creative process without any labels on it and see the similarities. Artists face blank canvasses, potters face a lump of unshaped clay: it’s the way we push through that nothing to something which is fascinating. Thanks for a great post.

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