Welcome to Warriors of the Written! (Part 1)
Thanks for visiting Warriors of the Written (WotW). I’d like to take a few minutes of your time to tell you about this blog and why it might be worth your time to check it out.
WotW is centered around story-telling and writing. Stories, myths and legends have been around since humans learned to communicate, and they’ve always been important to us. They have evolved with us from cave paintings to campfire tales to books and games and movies, mostly because they do something incredible- allow us to be depressed, uplifted, frightened, or excited by something that isn’t actually happening.
Good stories draw us in and allow us to experience the world through the eyes of others. They pass on the perspectives and lessons of people who have been there and done that. They inspire and teach. They challenge us to consider what we would do in extraordinary or difficult situations. I’m fascinated by the impact stories have on us and writing has always been my art, so that’s what I wanted to blog about. But that doesn’t mean you need to be a writer or story-teller to get something from this website.
Warriors of the Written is for everyone.
Sure, there is a category devoted to writing tips and techniques. I’ve spent a lot of time studying and thinking about writing. My biggest desire with this blog is to help others, so of course I want to share what I’ve learned and maybe spark a little inspiration in someone. Plenty of others have sparked that inspiration in me, so… pay it forward!
There’s also a resources section, which is a standard page of links to books, movies, podcasts and tools that have helped me become a better writer. Every good artist needs their tools and I will introduce you to mine.
The area I get most excited about is devoted to stories, where I post my own fiction as well as real-life stories of people who have overcome difficult life situations. For me, these are some of the most meaningful stories because they give us hope. They remind us that humans are capable of amazing things despite challenging circumstances. They show us examples of people tapping into their “warrior” mindset and finding courage. They inspire us to do the same.
When I say WotW is for everyone, though, I’m mostly talking about the lifestyle category. This is where we’ll explore habits and practices that have nothing to do with writing and everything to do with making the most of your efforts.
But why would you do that? Writing and story-telling are mental exercises. What does that have to do with your lifestyle?
A lot, as it turns out.
Don’t get me wrong- skills and techniques and tips and tricks are important if you want your writing to resonate with others. You should absolutely understand the rules of any craft you want to be good at. But rules are just a framework.
The most important parts of any creation are your “you-ness”, the unique traits that only you can bring to your work. These are things that can’t be taught and are often difficult to tap into, but they are there. And you know they are because of that one day you were feeling it and wrote that poem, or painted that picture, or captured that photograph that made everyone say “you should be a professional!”
That feedback is incredibly rewarding and inspiring, and after that day you probably chased that feeling for a few days, or weeks, or months. You took photo after photo or wrote poem after poem, but none of them made people feel the same way that first one did. You realized that “feeling it” is not an easy place to find and, unless you were very persistent, maybe you decided that you’re not a poet, or painter, or photographer after all.
You were wrong.
That’s not to say you’re destined to be a professional photographer because (unfortunately) there’s a lot more to being a pro than just talent. But if you created something amazing once, chances are you can do it again- you just need to figure out how to find that place where you were feeling it. The main point of the lifestyle category is to help with that. To help you find your flow.
The concept of flow has been around for thousands of years. In the east, it’s a core principle of religions, spiritual traditions, and martial arts. In the west, it’s a well-known state of being that science refers to as “a flow experience”. Software developers say they’re “wired in”, while artists and athletes call it “the zone”.
Melody is pure intuition. I don’t use any thinking brain when I do that. That’s totally in the zone.
Whatever you call it, flow is that moment, or string of moments, when you are 100% present and fully tuned in to what you are doing. It could be almost anything- writing, reading, painting, dancing, or shooting a ball through a hoop. If you’re locked in and doing it at a high level, you’re flowing.
You probably even experience moments of flow when you’re at work. Times when everything around you is chaos and you are being pushed to perform or produce. You should be stressing out but instead, you are lost in the moment and the task at hand. You know exactly what needs to be done and how to get there.
The world around you fades into the background, time disappears, and you flow- taking care of business and making it look easy. Even if you don’t always like your job, those are days when you go home with a sense of pride and accomplishment for being good at what you do. Those are days you remember.
My path toward becoming a better writer sent me chasing after flow because the work I accomplish when I’m in a flow state is… more. More satisfying, more fulfilling and more rewarding. I get things finished faster. I have to edit less, and I enjoy the process more. Most importantly, my writing is better. It’s a win-win situation all around.
So why don’t you spend all your time in a flow state?
Believe me, there’s nothing I would like more. Human life, though, doesn’t really work like that. Finding your flow state isn’t easy- you can’t just decide to be there and then actually be there, in the same way that you can’t just decide to sleep and then actually be sleeping (unless you’re truly physically exhausted).
For most of us, there is a relaxation process we must go through before we allow ourselves to sleep. If there’s too much noise or if it’s too quiet, if there’s too much light or not enough, if your partner’s too close or too far away- if the conditions aren’t comfortable enough, it might be hard for you to fall asleep. But when all the conditions are met… zzzz, you’re out.
Finding your flow state can be very similar. The difference is in the habit you create, or the practice you undertake, to allow flow to happen. You will read a lot about practice at WotW because the concept of intentional practice is the most efficient method of getting better at something faster. But the point is this:
You can train yourself to find your flow more easily.
WotW will present ideas and habits that have worked for me. These are based on over a decade’s research into peak performance, the power of habit, intentional practice, spiritual philosophies and the warrior mindset (more on this in a moment).
Every practice won’t work for every person because our individual circumstances and perspectives make us all so unique. It is the ultimate beauty of humanity- but also a difficult reality- that there aren’t many universal truths, no magic pills that will solve everyone’s problems.
I’ll be honest with you. You probably won’t read anything shocking here, or find many earth-shattering secrets that will turn your life around overnight. I won’t pretend that I can give you that magic pill to improve your work or to make you more productive.
What you might find is a fresh perspective. A different way of looking at the work you do, one that recognizes the connection between how you live and where you want to go in life, and how those two things affect each other. If you choose to walk this path, however, be prepared.
There will be unintended consequences.
My own path to better flow has pushed me to become healthier. I’m much more patient. I enjoy the little things more. And I enjoy helping others more because I have more energy to give. I’ve also rediscovered a love for writing- something I lost in the grind of trying to become a writer.
If any of this resonates with you, I welcome you to join WotW for a bit. Of course, I hope you stay longer and become a part of the community. But your journey is your own and if WotW can help you along, for however long, it’s worth it.
My next post will look deeper into the warrior mindset, which can help you find the strength to commit to the habits and practices that will help you find your flow more easily. And why a warrior mindset? Isn’t that a bit dramatic for something as calm as writing?
Not really because, for most of us, we are the biggest challenge to our own success.
I was listening to a podcast (link below) in which Kevin Miller was asked the question:
What are some of the biggest struggles people face when pursuing self-employment?
It’s self. That’s the biggest problem.
The warrior mindset can help you overcome your own biggest enemy. Explore that with me in the next post.
PS- If you found value in this post, please comment or share to grow the community! You have our gratitude.
Wikipedia’s page on Flow.
Blogging Your Passion podcast w/Kevin Miller.