I’ve always loved martial arts. I grew up in the 80s watching tons of the old dubbed in Kung Fu movies that got replayed on Saturdays. Bruce Lee movies immediately became my favorites (big surprise). I remember Chinese Connection was the first movie of his I saw. The clip below still stands out to me (especially around 3:45 when the nunchukas get involved). You’ll notice the familiarity between it and Kill Bill Vol. 1.
Anyway, I had to see everything by Bruce Lee after that. I also read a ton of his writings and philosophy. And that brings me to the point of today’s post. Lee doesn’t get enough credit for being a cerebral person, in my opinion. Though many of his thoughts relate more to martial arts, I think they can also be applied to just about anything. I’m going to take a few of my favorite ones and apply them to writing.
“If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”How many people never try something because they feel as though they won’t be good at it? Don’t tell yourself you can’t be a writer if you haven’t even tried it. Don’t even tell yourself you aren’t good at something if you’ve only tried it once. Most writers take time to develop. VERY few ever get it right the first time. If you talk yourself out of doing something that interests you (writing), how much easier is going to be to do so again?
“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”A common school of thought is to focus on small goals in order to feel like you are moving forward and not becoming discouraged. I agree that is important. However, the big goals are what keep you pushing through the rough patches. Writing 1000 words on a Wednesday doesn’t hold the same awe as the prospect of becoming a world famous author or someone who makes enough money to quit their day job.
I’d rather aim high and be excited I made my goal than easily clear a low one and be depressed that I don’t know where to go next.
“It's not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”I like to think of this in context of making time for writing. It’s amazing how much time you have to write when you cut out distractions such as TV. How important is writing to you? If it’s your dream to make it as an author then why waste your time doing things that are not of importance.
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.This is my favorite Bruce Lee quote of all time. A good friend of mine and I like to use it often. Sometimes a story or a character just isn’t working. That’s ok. Step back and approach it from a different angle. Sometimes that new book is harder to write than the old one. That’s ok too. Each book is different. Allow your talents to change and form around what is needed to get your story across. Be like water.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.”