The Benefits of Silence – Writing Tip

SHUT UP!

Not you, faithful reader. I’m talking to the world, with your radio commercials and your TV commercials and internet pop-ups and political ads and Facebook notifications and ringing phones and business signs and a plane . . . a goddamn plane flying over Route 101 with an advertising banner streaming out behind it like a fecal strand. Countless things shouting through a bullhorn: Look at me! Do this. Buy that. Accept my friend request. Take a survey. Vote for Pedro. See my cat video?

Life Summary: taking classes, raising a family, working, trying to write (ha-ha), worrying about bills, worrying about the car, worrying about the other car, worrying about family members—ahhhhhhh!

Message overload.

Self-destruction . . . imminent.

My brain . . . a balloon stretching dangerously thin from internal pressures. Popping, inevitable.

Hey, World, can I get an aneurysm with a side of heart attack, please?

This can’t be healthy.

Can’t write either. No time means no inspiration. The Great Writerly Fear rearing its despicable head: “Life has drunk the well dry. Quench your thirst elsewhere.”

The creative flame is a candle in a hurricane, leaving a charred wick as a funereal reminder of what might have been.

Got to tune it. All. Out.

That’s the solution, right? But how? With so much stuff to do, how?

Bubble of solace, my car!

Blessed aluminum and plastic and glass propelled by the decay of the ancient dinosaur.

Twenty minutes twice a day, five times a week. Radio, off. Phone, off. Windows, down. Silence. Or as close to silence as I can come.

No traffic on my commute, not on these country highways.

The brain relaxes. Not at first, but after a few days . . . I start to notice things.

No DJ babble to interrupt me, no talking heads blathering into my ear about the saintly virtues of one candidate versus the Evil Opponent, who surely eats kittens alive while conspiring to rule the world—mu-ha-ha.

Mood, improving?

Observations . . . growing sharp once again.

Where did those llamas overlooking the road come from? They must have been there before I started this job, right? Never noticed them before.

The guy with the firefighter plates on his SUV passes me going the opposite direction around the same time most days. Snow-white mustache glimpsed through the glass. Does he see me as I see him?

The dip of a certain hill into a small valley snuggled by towering pines, the temperature ten degrees cooler for a moment as I whizz by at fifty-five. The smell . . . the smell of damp earth and pine, as ancient as life itself.

A driveway winding away into the forest, leading to somebody’s somewhere.

A field of flowers, bloody red and sunny yellow.

This quiet is better. Much better.

The human mind isn’t designed for the modern world. I know that now.

And now, finally, after months of stress and fear and hard work . . . people whisper into my brain again. I’m a little teary. They’re still there after all, patiently waiting for me to carry them into unknown conflicts great and small. Me, the captain of their futures. Eddie Starcruiser, winking at me from the sordid alleys of Fling World. Gary, wondering what the hell is going to happen to him now that New York is devouring itself. Mindy Spell, a little too eager to advance her magic so she can save Incantation from Sliver Strange once again. There are  people I don’t know in here, too, although I have a feeling I may know them someday. I sure hope so. Faces, personalities, and voices beckoning.

Come in, come in. Embrace us.

Ecstasy.

 


 

Sometimes silence can remind you who you are. This is something I just learned at thirty-eight years old. When everything in life seems to be shouting, it’s impossible to hear a whisper, even though that might be the most important voice of all. So the next time you’re struggling to lift your creative block, try silence. It’s worked for me so far.

But don’t take my word for it. Science is on the side of silence:

The Best 3 Benefits of Silence To Your Brain

Concentration and Silence

Noise pollution: non-auditory effects on health

 

Vlad

Vlad V. is the author of The Button, Yorick, and Brachman’s Underworld. His novella “The Sleep Artist” was published in Insanity Tales, a collection of dark fiction, in October 2014 (Books & Boos Press). His most recent release is his novella “Float,” published in Insanity Tales II: The Sense of Fear  in October 2015 (Books & Boos Press). His first kids’ book, The Moon is Dead!, was released in January 2015.
Vlad is also the founder and managing editor of The Storyside, a publishing collaborative dedicated to bringing the best in independent fiction to the market.
He is an editor, publishing consultant, freelance writer, and former newspaper correspondent for the Lowell Sun andFitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise. Learn more about Vlad at www.TheVlad.net.
His books are available through AmazonBarnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple and Smashwords.com, as well as most bookstores.
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3 Comments

  1. Dillon

    Thank you for the effort, keep up the good work
    Great work.

    Reply
  2. writing an academic paper

    Great information. Lucky me I discovered your site by accident (stumbleupon).
    I’ve book marked it for later!

    Reply
  3. Sally M. Chetwynd

    Nice! And absolutely spot on. You can’t be creative, neither can you rest, if you don’t have time to think, or can’t find it through the cacophony of the modern world. I’m currently working my way through Wendell Berry’s collection of agrarian essays “The Art of the Commonplace.” You’ll likely find a lot of the serenity you seek in his essays. Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God.” If we don’t stop to listen, if we constantly buffer (or buffet?) ourselves with “white noise,” we won’t and can’t hear that small voice inside us, whether it is God or our muse or whatever.

    Reply

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