Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
Lao Tzu

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I’ll share with you my writing process.

It’s nothing special and actually there’s no fixed routine.

Ideas pop up in my head while reading books or stuff on the Internet, traveling, noticing little daily things, watching videos and movies, communicating (it may be a simple thing someone says but it can provoke many ideas I can later turn into posts), or basically almost everything I do. It may be while doing something, or just sitting and contemplating.

The idea may by a title for a post (Yes, sometimes I just think of random titles.), an introduction for another, the main idea of a third one, or just something to work later on.

After some time I’ll eventually think of a title of all the written posts that don’t have one, of what to write on empty word documents that only have a title, a new paragraph to write here, or a list there.

The thing is that one idea gives birth to many others. I think one of my best habits is writing each of them down.
That way when sometimes I want to write but have nothing particular in mind, I just go through a few pages of such ideas and pick random ones. Then I combine them in a post.

Now as I think of it, that process is a complete chaos.

But it turns out to be working. And I know why.

Simply because I don’t force anything. I don’t try to think of a title of a post immediately after finishing it, or to write a last paragraph of one just to get it done.
Instead, I go with the flow. And soon each of them is a completed one – with a title that fits perfectly and the exact idea I wanted to share in its content.

My job is to have ideas, take action (write them down, start writing when I feel like and when I have something to say) and not to force things. The rest just comes in place at the right time.

 Here is what Leo Babauta says in his ebook “The Effortless Life”:

“The writing has been effortless because I’m passionate about it, I have no fixed plans or expectations, I’m in no rush, I’m doing it
mindfully, and I’m letting others help me edit, so I save unnecessary work.”

 He also shares a lesson of Bruce Lee:

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.

Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless—
like water. Now you put water in a cup,
it becomes the cup; You put water into a
bottle 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.

How to achieve that?

In order to do this, we need to let go of all our fears, doubts, expectations and fixed plans. We need to feel this flow and go with it. Just like water.

An important thing to do is to trust that things will turn out just the way they should.

We’re all obsessed with the need of having control over everything in our life, of having security (which, in my opinion, is an illusion. You can see why here.)

Only letting go can help you free yourself of that burden. Only embracing insecurity and realizing that control is imaginary will give you the way to go with the flow, to do everything naturally and in accordance with the universe.

You’ll reach that level of joy, harmony and peaceful mind when you stop forcing things and accept them as they are. You can, of course, take actions in order to get what you want, but they should correspond with the natural laws. And you should not interfere this flow.

Living effortlessly is an amazing thing. It takes time to get there, but you can do it. It’s a level of consciousness where you won’t feel afraid, insecure, in doubt, disappointed or another negative emotion. That is why your actions will be the right things you need to do and there will be enough space in your life and mind for joy and contentment to come.

What do you think? Can you say that you’re going with the flow sometimes? What’s the result?

Image by Sam Wollf

Lidiya K

Lidiya K

Author, blogger and podcaster in the fields of self-improvement and life hacking. Creator of Let's Reach Success.
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
Lidiya K

35 Comments

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  1. re:’ Instead, I go with the flow. And soon each of them is a completed one – with a title that fits perfectly and the exact idea I wanted to share in its content.’
    What you are talking about is, in fact the subconscious and the superconscious both of which are repositories for our awareness and knowledge – for all knowledge exists!

    The Bubble of Thought.
    If awareness is a pond, a Thought* is the bubble that rises from the depths and bursts at the surface.
    (*For my definition see Ian’s Dictionary.)
    Ω
    The above from The ‘Quo vadis?’ FileIII

    1. No need to make the idea more complex and put a label on it. But yes, I think that’s the same thing. All things have so many names and ways to be explained and they all lead to the same – understanding of the self.

      I love the comparison with the pond and bubbles.

  2. My favourite recent quote was indeed ‘Be like water. Go with the flow’. So much easier than swimming against the current. Thanks for the great post.

  3. I wrote an article which I hope you won’t mind me sharing. It comes at this idea from a slightly different angle – that inspiration is everywhere if you are open to it! My blog ideas tend to come out of things I see or read or do – and my writing style is similar to yours – I tend to just let ideas take form as I start to write, rather than start with a rigid plan. It works for me, and it is unusual for me to struggle to write. If I do struggle, I step away from it for a while. When I come back I can usually get it nailed!
    http://humannaturedevelopment.com/2013/11/24/inspiration-is-everywhere/

  4. I just wrote a post on a similar topic! I was pleasantly surprised to see another post about it.

    I agree, going with the flow is a good thing and hopefully we can do it more often when it comes to things we enjoy. However, do you think going with the flow is the best way to actually improve at something? So if I want to improve at writing, it’d be great for me to be in the flow most of the time but would I be challenging myself enough?

    1. Now that’s an interesting question.
      I mentioned that you shouldn’t go with the flow all the time. Challenging yourself helps you grow and improve and as long as it’s good for you, you can do it. But people these days put too much pressure in everything they do and that ruins the activity. That’s why my solution is to learn how to go with the flow, let things happen, accept them as they are and just make the best of it.

    2. I do 41 consecutive chin-ups. Many people would say it’s quite an achievement. I improved from 14.
      But I didn’t plan it. All I have planned was to exercise chin-ups/ pull-ups at least once a day.
      It took me about 2 years to reach that point. I definitely improved my chin-ups 😉
      If you want to improve your writing – write.

      1. Do you think you could have reached that goal quicker if you did have a plan that pushed you a bit more everyday? Very well done on your achievements, I’m just interested in deliberate practice and the like.

        Again with the writing, surely just writing aimlessly won’t give you valuable progress if you’re never getting feedback or finding out where you went wrong?

        1. Yes I think I could have reached that such results quicker if Idid have a plan that pushed me a bit more everyday. But that’s the whole beauty of going with the flow. I didn’t have to pursue that goal. It happened “by itself” and I could focus on other, more important activities.

          “Writing aimlessly” is not exclusive with getting feedback. Whether you get feedback or not depends solely on the fact if you publish your work somewhere.

          I think the writing process Lidiya has described is quite “aimless” comparing to mine for example. I sit every day for 30 minutes and write a book. Day by day, with no exceptions.
          Lidiya has the writing process more disorganized, but she reaches her goals anyway. Look how much content she has on this blog!

  5. What a load of a NewAge crap! Let go, don’t think about the outcomes, let the things happen themselves…
    It’s against common sense!
    That would be my reaction to this article 2 years ago.

    It still raises some resistance in me. The language is vague, the methods seem obscure. One could argue, that in fact, there are no methods presented, just the invocations.

    But the best proof of this philosophy is that it works for you. You write beautifully and effortlessly.
    It definitely works for Leo.
    Bruce Lee also wasn’t a failure as long as I recall 😉

    I don’t like rigid plans, goals and systems. I’m rigid only about my daily habits.
    I had experiences when I let go and I worked just on the process and I didn’t care much about the outcome AND the outcome was huge. Like with my last book launch.

    So I don’t enjoy very much the language, but I appreciate the message.

    1. There are certain situations when we need to accept things as they are, and others in which we need to act, challenge ourselves and go out there and do something about the things we want.
      There are also times when planning and goals help as they give us a direction, but sometimes we focus on the path or result so much that it actually becomes an obstacle. Then we need to let go of plans and just do what we feel is right.

      The philosophy I’m talking about really is controversial. I think it’s best if everyone understands it for himself and chooses when to put it into action.

      Thanks for the comment.:)
      Best wishes, Michal!

  6. Thank you for this post, Lidiya. This philosophy is the foundation of y personal Zen journey, as water is so soft and yielding, and yet, it is the ONLY thing capable of wearing a mountain away into nothing through steady persistence. The only challenge in going with the flow is to give up he illusion of control and let the flow take you wherever it may and accept whatever comes of it.

    1. I love the way you explained this. The philosophy behind going with the flow is so beautiful and is connected with self-understanding, peace and harmony. We need to know when exactly to accept things as they are and stop pushing them, and how to let go of certain things so that we can enjoy the present.

  7. In order to “go with the flow”, you need to let go of your expectations and accept reality for what it is. Accept life as it is, learn to enjoy life moment by moment, plans to find solutions for problems — or roadblocks as I like to call them — and then take time to execute the solution methodically. Don’t let problems be a reason to stop enjoying life. Every day we fail and succeed to some degree. Every day we will experience negative human behavior, whether the behavior is our own or someone else’s. Here is my practical take on identifying and dealing with reality:

    http://analyticalperspective.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/practical-problem-vs-emotional-problem/

      1. Well, I appreciate your optimism and zen perspective. I would like you to take this personality test. I’m guessing you are INFP, but I could be wrong. I think you’ll like exploring your personality. I know it would be fun for me to know you, anyway. The link is in this article and it explains how knowing your personality type aids in having better relationships.

        http://analyticalperspective.wordpress.com/understanding-yourself-and-your-vips/the-importance-of-personality/

        1. Actually I’ve taken it some time ago. I don’t really remember what the final result was but I think it wasn’t anything surprising. Now as I think of it, I learnt about the test from your post about it. It was interesting. Thanks for that 🙂

          1. Oh cool!! I wonder what you are; either INFJ or INFP. I am a border on those two. When I am in my child ego state I am INFP, but when my adult ego state is extraverting, I am INFJ.

  8. Thanks for this post Lidiya. I had started my blog in order to develop a consistent writing habit and publicly track my fitness/weightloss goals. Well… I’ve been consistent but I have to accept and embrace the fact that I’m not going to post 3 times a week as I had originally intended to do. I found that when I don’t force the writing it flows more naturally and the process feels real, not manufactured. I accepted that I am not a failure if I don’t post 3x a week, especially because I’m a graduate student and I do more than enough reading and writing whilst trying to finish that dreaded thesis.
    Thanks again for sharing your insight, wisdom and life journey with us.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Glad you stopped by.
      Starting a blog and writing regularly is a victory itself. And regularly doesn’t need to be 3 times per week. Once is enough for now.
      The writing habit is a blessing, it helps you grow while sharing what’s on your mind with others. And good luck with your fitness and weight loss games. I’m also working on that 🙂

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