Well-known furniture designer Charles Eames once said that he devoted only about one percent of his energy to conceiving a design; he spent the remaining ninety-nine percent holding onto the vision as the project developed. For a writer, holding on to the vision is the ability to develop the possible.
Holding on to your vision might seem to be in direct conflict with letting go of expectations. However, there is a distinct difference between expectation and vision.
An expectation is a limited view of how something will unfold. When we expect something, we shut off our ability to see other possibilities and may miss an important ingredient because we are no longer opening our minds to alternatives.
Meanwhile, imagination is the basis of a vision. As you begin to implement the vision, systems and skills take over. A vision develops by becoming specific but starts as inspiration. When you take the first step, all the steps after that acknowledge and relate to that first step. Attaining your vision is a progression of decreasing possibilities. Each step toward the goal reduces future options by converting each possibility into reality.
A finished piece is the fusion of vision with execution. The most common failures in achieving that fusion are that too often, transformational writing authors believe that:
- they know their material too well
- their ideas are more inspiring than anyone else’s
- their execution is polished before they even begin
In short, their expectations outstrip their ability. Visions are realized in the connection between you and something – a technique, a word, a style of communicating – and both you and that something needs to be free to move.
Holding on to a vision while letting go of the expectation of an outcome has risks. You might not take the route you imagined, and the destination could change. There is no certainty in creating. What’s needed is a sense of what you are looking for, an approach for finding it, and a willingness to embrace mistakes and surprises along the way.
No Transformational Writing Author gets every composition right the first time. Get in the habit of being inquisitive and making observations. Live through your writing as a natural extension of personal philosophy and thinking. Move beyond fear, become familiar with your materials, and hold on to your vision. When you truly understand and accept how this works, you will release the power of your vision, and the result will be a work of art.
Next exercise: Write about the difference between expectation and vision. Where have you been blurring the distinction? How can you see it differently?
If you would like to be sent daily writing prompts to get you started, click here and register in the pop-up for my 30-day Writing Challenge. Every day you will receive a teaching about the writing process and suggestions for what to write about and how.