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Adjust, Alter, and Adapt: Becoming Like Water as a Writer

Updated on February 6, 2015
Our creativity is often churning under the calm surface, much like the koi in a pond
Our creativity is often churning under the calm surface, much like the koi in a pond | Source

Recovery: An introduction to Water

I fought the idea of recovery without knowing its name and clashed with all the people who only knew to tell me to quit using. I knew that it was an insidious cycle, one that I loathed; however, I did not understand that there were ways to help me break the cycle and learn to flow with life experiences.

This lesson has helped me as a writer be more patient with the creative process.

Water: Adapting to its Environment

One of my doctors had multiple images of water on his office walls. Still ponds, tranquil pools, raging oceans and other examples of the power of water to flow where it had to in the most expedient manner possible. Besides the wall reminders, there was an aquarium and small table size waterfall.

He commented that when we become like water, we stop trying to fit the circumstances to our way of thinking and flow with the events offering no resistance but getting to the other side. His analogy helped me when I had conflicting thoughts and feelings about my recovery.

It's the same way with writing.

Ideas: Swimming Aimlessly Through our Minds

Sometimes two or three ideas are swimming in our minds; each good but fighting with each other for prominence.

Then there are other ideas that only yesterday were percolating; bubbling in that yonder brook manner.

We hear the various ideas in our head, and know there's an article there, but it's out of focus for now.

I also know not to rush this process; the writing will come.

I just have to be patient, and I'm not a very patient person.

But I am fantastic at distracting my impatient side. I find researching my subject is what I call, "Productive and Creative Procrastination" and it works for me. How do I do that?

I continue with my source subject and see what great writers, artists, and other have to say. I'd like to share some of the excellent water quotes with you.

For More Inspiration See Amy Tan's Video at the end of the article.

Productive and Creative Procrastination on the Subject of Water

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient.

Water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”

Margaret Atwood: Author

Rebecca Solnit


“If gold has been prized because it is the most inert element, changeless and incorruptible, water is prized for the opposite reason -- its fluidity, mobility, changeability that make it a necessity and a metaphor for life itself.

To value gold over water is to value economy over ecology, that which can be locked up over that which connects all things.”

Rebecca Solnit: Author

B. R. Ambedkar


"Unlike a drop of water which loses its identity when it joins the ocean, man does not lose his being in the society in which he lives.

Man's life is independent. He is born not for the development of the society alone, but for the development of his self."

B. R. Ambedkar: architect of the Indian Constitution

Isak Dinesen


"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea."

Isak Dinesen: Author

F. Scott Fitzgerald


"All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath."

F. Scott Fitzgerald:Author

Barbara Kingsolver


"Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still."

Barbara Kingsolver: Author

Morihei Ueshiba


"Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly and freely between the rocks. Also learn from holy books and wise people. Everything - even mountains, rivers, plants and trees - should be your teacher."

Morihei Ueshiba: The founder of Aikido martial arts

Leonardo da Vinci


"Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation... even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind."

Leonardo da Vinci: Inventor, artist

Ernest Hemingway


"If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows.

The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water."

Ernest Hemingway: Author

Mark Twain


"My books are like water; those of the great geniuses are wine. (Fortunately) everybody drinks water."

Mark Twain: Author

Clarissa Pinkola Estes


"I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom."

Clarissa Pinkola Estes: Author

Robert Henri


"Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think."

Robert Henri: Artist

C. JoyBell C.


“Anger is like flowing water; there's nothing wrong with it as long as you let it flow. Hate is like stagnant water; anger that you denied yourself the freedom to feel, the freedom to flow; water that you gathered in one place and left to forget.

Stagnant water becomes dirty, stinky, disease-ridden, poisonous, deadly; that is your hate. On flowing water travels little paper boats; paper boats of forgiveness. Allow yourself to feel anger, allow your waters to flow, along with all the paper boats of forgiveness. Be human.”

C. JoyBell C.: Author

Fatemeh Keshavarz


“...a small stream...sings a carefree song as it runs by your house.

It is so nonthreatening that you can sit by it, look at your reflection in the water, and even wash your hands in it. It is yours, your personal stream.

Yet you know that it has originated in the sea and is on its way back to where it has come from. When passing by your house, however, it is yours.

You can say it is a personal moment you have torn out of eternity to keep in your pocket for yourself.”

Fatemeh Keshavarz: Professor of Persian Studies and Author

Francis Harold Cook


“Can the water in the valleys ever stop and rest? When the water finally reaches the sea, it becomes great waves.”

Francis Harold Cook: Author

Alan Watts


"Imagine a multidimensional spider's web in the early morning covered with dew drops.

And every dew drop contains the reflection of all the other dew drops.

And, in each reflected dew drop, the reflections of all the other dew drops in that reflection.

And so ad infinitum. That is the Buddhist conception of the universe in an image."

Alan Watts: Author

Mehmet Murat ildan


“Water is happy when it falls; water is happy when it rises! We call this as wisdom!”

"Water enters the dark sewer grates with no fear; it travels everywhere; it learns some things from everything and this is the secret of water’s wisdom!”

Mehmet Murat ildan: Author

Which quote or image spoke to you?

See results

Moving from Contemplation to Content

I took a break from finding quotes and images; there are just too many that I found inspirational.

So, I read some comments. I make it a practice if I get a comment from someone new, I immediately go to their Hubs and read one; this just keeps me on track.

And guess what, Kristen Howe has an article that reminded me of the benefits of hydrotherapy and how much I enjoy the advantages of my sister's gym over mine.

She has access to an excellent spa, Jacuzzi, and whirlpool - there's that water image again. I might have to schedule a visit soon.

In the meantime, those words in my mind? They were coalescing and starting to form my next piece.

See, that's how productive and creative procrastination can provide you with inspiration and focus.

Hope you try it and let me know the outcome.

Tagline: Write, share and grow together.

Where Does Creativity Hide with Amy Tan


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    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 3 years ago from Georgia

      Good morning, Kristen; I like when I can link to another Hubber. Helps us all, and your article was right on point. Thanks for your kinds words on mine, as well. ~Marilyn

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Marilyn, lovely hub with beautiful photographs too. Thanks for the name drop for my hydrotherapy article in your hub, too. Much obliged. Voted up!

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 3 years ago from Georgia

      Good afternoon, CatherineGiordano; I'll have to read your Hub on quotes. Just coming back to Hub, I have a lot of catching up to do. I like quotes.

      Water is fluid, and I think that we writers have to be as well in order to let the words pun intended. But it reinforces how many attributes of water are applicable to our writing. Glad you enjoyed it. ~Marilyn

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 3 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I loved your water images--the pictures and the words. I never thought of it that way, but writing is like water. I could have used some of your quotes when I did my hub about quotes from writers. Voted up.

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 3 years ago from Georgia

      Good morning, Trina; thank you for visiting and commenting. My process is to read another writer's article before I respond to their comment if they are visiting for the first time. Just helps me stay connected and respectful. So, loved yours on happy music. Made me think and smile.

      I hope that you find the time to read some of my other articles that speak to you. ~Marilyn

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 3 years ago from Georgia

      Good morning, Pennyforyourthots; what a lovely way to open my page - with your comment. I've always considered myself an artist with words and wrote about it years ago, but finding the visuals online to convey more of my intent is easier today.

      Growing up with an artist mother and sister, drawings, paintings and other eye appeals was always there. Just makes sense to enhance the words with them today as well. Again, thank you for the kind words. ~Marilyn

    • TrinaSonnenberg profile image

      Trina Sonenberg 3 years ago from Nucla, Colorado

      I love your page. It all speaks to me in one way or another. Thanx for sharing.

    • profile image

      Pennyforyourthots 3 years ago

      Excellent hub with great quotes and imagery. I loved it. So true that writing is like water flowing from our mind. Lovely words! Thanks for sharing!

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 3 years ago from Georgia

      Good afternoon, Chris; glad that the images spoke to you. We both know how powerful titles are and I'm pleased that you and Bill found this one engaging.

      If we aren't fluid as writers, I think we dry up...oh, that sounds like a bad pun, and wasn't intended, but you get the meaning. Again, thanks for commenting and the kind words. ~Marilyn

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 3 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      There's a lot of lovely imagery along with those inspirational quotes that grasp me. I agree that the title is powerful and using the element of water as a connector to who we are is perfect. Great hub voted up!

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 3 years ago from Georgia

      Good morning, Eric; thank you for commenting and the kind words. I like quotes. And one of my favorite quotes references how we will not pay attention to our parents and friends, but if a famous person says it, we believe it immediately.

      Poor Abe Lincoln and Albert Einstein; the two most misquoted people according to some internet source. Think up something profound and tag them; it's sure to make you look good, and who can verify everything. Oh, I digress. Have a good weekend. ~Marilyn

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 3 years ago from Georgia

      Good morning, Bill; some years back, you had an article on titles. I hope you know I still remember it. The weekend is shaping up to be another form of work - moving...not my favorite thing to do, but might just get further inspiration. We can dream.

      Thanks for all your comments and you have a good weekend, too. ~Marilyn

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      An excellent hub. Fantastic quotes and imagery. Great food for thought on water. I love the notion of creative procrastination. Thank you for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love the title. The rest was all bonus. It's late Friday...time for me to shut it down for the week. Have a splendid weekend, Marilyn!