The Curiosity Conundrum: Why Follow Your Curiosity Is Bad Advice

Curiosity innately present with us from the moment of birth underlies our collective predilection to seek, to learn or to simply understand. Parents can attest to the sanity reducing power of a steady stream of questions by their young ones.

Most of us through social conditioning or the absence of answers eventually learn to stop asking those questions outright despite deep persistence. When I was young books helped assuage this curiosity and my sense is in the modern era children and teenagers turn to the Internet for answers.

A curiosity that leads to deeper understanding and focused effort in pursuit of learning is beneficial; however, curiosity undisciplined or unfocused is horrible advice equal to the thoughtless but easy sounding follow your passion or bliss quip that dominates much of the Internet.

Everything popular is wrong.

Oscar Wilde

As the day wears on and our cognitive reserves begin depleting we notice how our minds not just drift but, wander — more aptly meander. Any given second our curiosity can take us down a rabbit hole that would have kept Alice firmly entrenched in Wonderland.

Those of us who can hold their focus more effectively for longer periods are the ones I think most likely to succeed in their endeavors. Given this decided edge in our modern millisecond driven world it really shouldn’t surprise us that those most focused often are most triumphant. Possibly a topic for another day.

Social Media, modern entertainment including YouTube, blogging modern mainstream media and any number of other platforms present numerous avenues of exploration for our curiosity.

Rarely (if ever) does this type of curiosity venture forth towards something meaningful. It merely wanders about mentally akin to what rural Australians would call a walk-a-bout, exemplifying at it’s best procrastination, at it’s worse escapism.

Left to our own devices our minds will simply flit from one interesting thing to another never really delving deeper into anything.

Focus Your Passion, Focus Your Curiosity

Think of passion and curiosity as planting seeds in the soil of your mind.

Traditionally farming and gardening required planting more seeds than anticipated plants with the expectation that many seeds wouldn’t sprout let alone bust forth through the fertile soil.

With advances in plant breeding and experimenting farmers were able to improve the fertility rate substantially. Now we understand when to sew the seeds when to properly fertilize and expect growth. Most of the activities take place before sewing the seed with a plan of action once it is sewn.

We need to create our plan for nourishing our minds plus selecting the seeds of ideas we wish to follow through on. Having a solid plan involving questions or a framework would be a good start.

My First Writing Cooperative Piece

Writing As Craft Or Writing As Content Producer Here’s the friend link to my third published piece in someone else’s publication and my first as part of The Writing Co-operative.

I’m becoming more conscious of not pre or post qualifying statements; in some ways there is a level of arrogance and potential for unintentionally insulting the reader. If someone is prone to personalize things they simply will. Given this is a Writing specific publication my assumption is people understand I’m not referring to making a living but, what I pursue on a personal basis. We all have our feelings and view points, this article was merely my own.

If you’re into writing then the advice hidden behind the paywall probably justifies the $5 per month or around $7 here in Canada. Given the broad cross section of everything and a substantial reader base I find the cost justifiable. Heck, I’ve easily paid more than that for two magazine subscriptions and Medium has some serious in house publications that would easily cost more in a normal model.

Thoughts On Writing With Purpose

Lately I have been pondering many things with writing, in particular how I wish to use my personal insights and abilities best to the betterment of things. Don’t get me wrong I’m not naively altruistic with daily struggles over many ego centric things.

Whether being liked or being wealthy should be where I direct my energy? Ours is a conflicted species absent of focused, honourable and inspiring leadership. In my most cynical states I cringe at revelations of how everything is about money or how much people suck. This despite knowing that not to be true.

Still a few more bucks wouldn’t hurt just not at the cost of betraying my values and selling my soul.

Fixation On Writing Process And Craft As Procrastination

I have come to realize that probably the most common form of procrastination amongst writers of all kinds is talking about writing, writing about writing and simply avoiding getting down to the actual writing. There is great advice right across the board but, it’s meaningless if all I do is read or write said advice.

Dabbling Across Genres

Satire

Awhile back I submitted a piece to a satire publication which was rejected for some now obvious reasons. While I hold no delusions or intention to be a great satirist or humorist there is elegance in boiling down things to the most essential; often is the case with great satire. Why say something in a thousand words that can be said in one sentence.

The process of distillation to it’s essence required by satire is beneficial to all writers given our natural love of the written word leaning us to elongate subject matter— such as this post. Getting to the heart of the writing in a timely manner is highly appropriate when it comes to short form fiction and non-fiction writing.

Creative Writing

On the creative writing front I have done nothing this year and would like to write more fiction as a means to improve my story telling process. It may be a good teacher of how to build more flow into all my work going forward regardless of what my goals eventually become.

…figuring out what your voice is can only come from the act of writing not the discussion of writing.

Non-Fiction

While I haven’t begun engaging in more research oriented non-fiction writing the process has been on my mind. I have begun outlining many of my narrative non-fiction ideas.

Lately I have also given thought to pursuing a course of study involving investigative journalism using the process put forth by Scott Young in his book Ultralearning. Investing years of study where I can abbreviate the process makes no sense to me. Just as wasting words shouldn’t either.

These have been just a few of the genres or areas of interest in my consideration of late. I don’t think specializing in one genre or the other can be predetermined until a person starts publishing more work; getting feedback and figuring out what your voice is can only come from the act of writing not the discussion of writing.

Vague Goals Won’t Push My Writing Growth

Then I became aware that having a simple goal merely to write, hit a word count or post everyday or some other formulaic approach to writing had done me a disservice all around.

My writing skills, thought processes and overall story telling prowess won’t change if I don’t push myself to pursue deeper endeavours.

Given my tendency towards non-fiction and interest in pressing issues impacting humanity it most likely would be best to recruit my old research skills then turn my pen and intellect into encouraging serious discussion on a variety of issues— potentially even the beginnings of change. Naively optimistic I suspect.

What is certain is the need for specificity in goals beyond word counts or post volumes; this requires more thought on my part perhaps even the nerve to seek out writing assignments or even propose articles before undertaking them.

Clarity will only come when I take action, thinking and writing about writing while comforting is pointless.

© 2019 Copyright Adam J Timperley

Thoughts on Blogging

Picture of a blank journal with pencil, eye glasses and camera.
Photo by Dariusz Sankowski on Unsplash

My Personal Blog Is About Connection Not Profits

Monday I submitted an essay or opinion piece to The Writing Cooperative which received feedback of minor changes on Tuesday but, I went full bore on a rewrite. Adding more depth plus improving formatting. It was accepted yesterday and is scheduled to be published on November 19th.

The process was enjoyable, challenging and brought clarity where before I only had scattered concepts. Editing the original piece on my own prior to submitting it did not feel remotely similar.

Now, I’m asking myself how I can bring that sense or emotion (for lack of a better term) of professionalism to my own editing process prior to submitting other creations?

My general sense of things circles back to writing articles or posts requiring greater depth from myself thus requiring me to slow down in this hyper connected world — at least in terms of the non-fiction thought provoking pieces.

Narrative non-fiction aka blogging from my viewpoint is relatively simple. We all have opinions and putting together this opinion pieces can be relatively expedient plus safe. On the economic side of things I’m not sold on it being a long term safe bet for a writer.

Paying the bills will sacrificing small slivers of my soul multiple times daily isn’t appealing to me.

While partially I may be guarded I tend to be a bit more open. Having made piece with my past plus aware of most of my soft spots what a person says to me or how they intend to weaponize my own words really doesn’t matter to me.

The simple act of attempting to use a person’s own accounting of anything against them is an admittance of our shortcomings—we show others our soft spots this way.

Sharing some deeply personal lessons or viewpoints on a blog without expectation in the hopes that it eases someone else’s burden or assures them they are not alone is my ideal of what blogging can be.

© 2019 Copyright Adam J Timperley

Our Contradictory Nature Assists Our Growth, It Doesn’t Hinder Us

Overwhelm understates my sense of being much of the time these days. The more obvious end of the world fear mongering that dominants across media platforms partially to blame; my own conflict on writing as hobby or amateur the other.

Yesterday, I submitted a brief article to The Writing Co-operative on Medium which I whittled down greatly. Immediately after with my daily goal of writing, editing and submitting two pieces to publications I caught myself embarking on doing the exact opposite to what I had just expressly written.

We’re not perfect, often conflicted and struggle to do the deep or hard work versus taking up the easy path. Whenever I’ve taken the easy path I pay for it physically, emotionally and intellectually.

Catching myself was great and significant as I didn’t waste time creating a seat of the pants article to toss in with the rest of the dozens upon dozens I have. Instead I focused on idea generation before choosing to outline and researched.

Also, I see the flaw in my goal making as the focus has singularly been on the data point of creating so many articles or posts to the exclusion of asking should I create this or write this?

I am now taking control of my writing process.

Blogging like this I believe is ideal for seat of the pants thinking. Free spinning ideas that eventually morph into something more or fade out into oblivion.

Realizing we are all contradictory isn’t so much judgmental as it is realism; accepting this as intrinsic truth it frees us to become more— to perhaps be a bit better than we were before our discovery.

Truth lies in this realization that we can change pretty much anything at any point as long as we keep ourselves open to possibility.

© 2019 Copyright Adam J Timperley

Grinding Or Creating?

Fast without effort appeals to us somewhere deep in our psyche. We evolved from gatherer-hunters most likely after discovering that growing and raising our food as a community not only was easier but also safer.

Call it evolution or progress in the end the quest for efficiency comes from our inherent laziness. Not laziness in so much as doing nothing but think along the lines of effortless. The biggest bang for the least buck or in our economic driven world the biggest return on least effort.

On Medium there appear to be a number of successful popular bloggers; at least according to the often daily posts about how much money they are making. If I were to take the earnings divide by word count of many of these posters I suspect it would be extremely low. Think the old five and dime or new dollar store versus a regular store such as Walmart.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that but, for myself I can’t see the pace being sustainable. You get a decent return for a short burst of time but, let’s say you spend five years frantically posting multiple posts per day essentially about nothing will you have grown as a writer?

What can I or you accomplish in five years of writing with dedicated time? There are bloggers with purpose that I follow who have released multiple best selling non-fiction works in only a few years. These works will continue to earn them money.

Will a general blog post about why I quite social media come remotely close to that? No it won’t.

Capitalizing on our curiosity, need for connection and storytelling doesn’t appeal to me. Imagine what the world would have been like if only those who could be the admittance could hear the stories. The tribal elders elected to only share their tribal history to members that had earned their worthiness — that’s a scary thought to me.

As I write this I’ve arrived a decision that I don’t think sharing my personal struggles should be for sale for fractional cents. My goal is to improve as a writer by challenging myself and writing my opinions without substance comes quite natural it’s easy and lazy.

Grinding is easy as you simply pump out so many words to hit a general count but, does it add value? Creating is extremely difficult despite our romanticized notions most of the prolific creator are (were) hard workers who meticulously plan, research, learned, studied, apprenticed and did any other of a number things. They also fail exponentially more than they succeed.

I want to create and hopefully ad value to even one individual which in turn benefits our shared culture. Meaningful work, challenging work and work that will be judged as will I. Writing that will irk, annoy or anger people with the requirement they think.

Depth sure won’t be easy but, I think it will be worth it.

A Lesson On Creativity And Clarity From Returning To Writing Through Blogging

Photo by alexey turenkov on Unsplash

My biggest challenge since I started writing again a few years back specifically with my dabbling in blogging or reality based writing comes down to staying on point.

This morning I began writing a post in which I intended to discuss what I’ve learned from blogging for over a year. It devolved from a simple idea into multiple ideas with thin connections of intersection.

Part of me considered if this is a cognitive impairment resulting from undiagnosed head trauma — after reading other writers and bloggers I understand this is simply a frustrating aspect of the creative process all endure.

Pausing for a second I now understand the importance of editing plus how frustrating the profession of being an editor could be; although there is an appeal to editing on a professional level. Detailed work with purpose of helping someone bring their thoughts to life with clarity would balance the tedium with exhilaration.

From a writing or creative aspect I contemplate how deep the emotional cut may feel should we become more attached to our creations than we should be. Creative and personal growth always comes from the harder things. Why we fight against this is beyond the scope of this post.

For now instead of getting frustrated then stopping or worse quitting all together I think I will just go with the flow. Write to either a time line or a word count. Take a break then deal with the flying monkeys when I edit.