Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Writers: Stop Being Reservoirs

There are two kinds of people in the world; rivers and reservoirs.

A river-type person is someone who hears a new view point or thinks of something new and then goes out and tells his friends about it. He lets the new found knowledge flow through him like a river. That type of person gushes their new thoughts onto other people around them. They put new ideas into motion.

However, your reservoir-type people are the ones who hear new and exciting ideas, and rather than sharing it with the world, they store it for later use. These people hoard the knowledge and save it as a reservoir.

I don't remember exactly where I heard about this concept, but it makes sense. There's a quote by George Bernard Shaw that comes to mind. He says:

"If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."

Growing up, I was a pack-rat. As a kid, I would collect things and stuff them away in every little nook and cranny in my room. I had even come up with a secret hiding spot beneath the bottom drawer of my dresser.
In a way, I ended up translating that pack-rat attitude into my adult life. I find that I want to learn about everything right now but while I'm still in class I'm making plans to use this later. I like to find new ideas and enjoy learning about a variety of topics (writing being foremost among my earthly interests), but I've found I still like to stuff those ideas and things away, filing them for a later date of use.
Sometimes it's like our brains are saying to us, "Got a cool new story idea? Great! Let's put it in the drawer with the rest of them for now. We'll come back to it real soon."
The only problem is, real soon never really is. Days go by, then weeks and months - and pretty quick years have passed and you still haven't taken steps to act on that new idea or write that book.
We should all strive to be river-types instead of reservoir-types. Heaven knows, I'm still struggling with this, but we need to take action on our ideas and the ideas of others before they get stored in the file, in the reservoir.
First off, that takes making time in your life.
If you feel like you don't have enough time to do anything, that means it's time to reevaluate your priorities. Take an honest look at your life and the activities you have going on.
Remember, you're no good stretched too thin.
At the end of your personal evaluation, you really need to decide what's important to you and what's valuable in your life. Be realistic. Then, cut the rest.
Like a band aid, it hurts coming off, but prolonging the pain is no good either. Just rip that sucker off and move on.
Second, get stuff in order.
Organizing your "stuff" in your life allows you to spend less time on worry and more time on being creative. It can be as simple as cleaning your living space to something as elaborate as a major writing space overhaul. Just do it. 
Part of getting your life in order means breaking old bad habits and creating new good ones. Establishing a routine can be tough to accomplish. But oh so worth it. A routine is like muscle memory and saves time in the long run for your day. It takes that much more stress out of your life. 
Routine and organization doesn't necessarily mean life will automatically be easier, but that's okay.
Keep in mind that some things are worth the effort.

That's why you have to decide which things are worth pouring your effort into.
Don't be afraid to seek out help.
Trust me, there are people in your life who care about you and want to see you succeed. Those are the people who are also willing to go out on a limb for you in a time of need.
Search those people out. They may be family, friends, church members, and neighbors. Whoever they are, find them and befriend them. Perhaps the most important thing to remember here is to be willing to help them first. Before you ask for yourself, help them in their time of need. They will be more open to help you when you're overloaded.
Sometimes all it takes is letting someone know you're going through a tough time and need some prayers.
Search out those willing to listen and be willing to listen in return. Gather near to you those with like minded attitudes and share ideas among each other.
When all this comes together for you, your ideas will trickle from the brooks and creeks, eventually meeting in one channel to form a mighty river with a power and force to be reckoned with.
How about you? Are you a reservoir? Are you ready to become a river? Leave a comment below!


  1. I think blogs are great ways to be "rivers". I know whenever I come across a great tip or idea (especially when it comes to writing), I try to pass it along by sharing it on my blog.

    1. That's great perspective Sunny! Thank you for commenting :)


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