Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Walled Garden Syndrome

Dear Fellow Writer,

I've updated R&R Books Film Music to better reflect where we are with our entertainment projects. Take a look if you like.

This week's writing masterclass is on The Hero's Journey. Go here to get a freebie: "Writing With Confidence"

Have a great weekend.

Keep Writing!

Rob Parnell


The Walled Garden Syndrome

Rob Parnell

I read an article his week about an apparent new danger called The Walled Garden Syndrome.

This is where people only involve themselves in what interests them and rarely venture outside of their own sphere of influences and shun experiences that they don't deliberately choose.

The article suggested this was a bad thing...

We all do it to a certain extent. Once we have a circle of friends that satisfy us, we tend not to interact with those we consider outsiders.

Plus, technology allows us to limit our experience of movies, books, websites and TV programs to those we like and want to be part of our lives.

The article suggested this was a bad thing...

We live in a world now where we don't have to do - or be subjected to - what we find distasteful or unwelcome. We can effectively shield ourselves from things like the news, if we want, and politics, as we'd prefer, even advertising, though of course that's much harder!

Because this is the issue. Politicians, the media and advertisers don't want us to live in 'walled gardens' because they can't reach us so easily - and if they can't reach us, their power base is undermined.

And this is a bad thing?

I like the idea of being able to shut out the news and politicians if that's what I want to do. 

Fact is, the more you do it, the more you realize how little those things matter and how unimportant those people really are. 

Just a lot of noise and bluster over self aggrandizement.

Imagine a world where nobody expressed any interest in another war. Would our leaders bother if they realized there were no votes in it?

We live in the safest world we've ever known and yet the media and our leaders conspire to keep us in a state of fear. Imagine if we were immune to their urgent, polluting messages...

Anyway, the point I wanted to make was about originality.

And how living in a kind of 'walled garden' can help your writing.

Publishers often complain that writers submit the same kind of manuscripts at the same time.

To me, this is not just synchronicity. It's more probable it's because we're often subjected to the same influences at the same time, are inspired by the same things and people and end up writing about the same things as lots of other writers.

The result being your writing has to compete with a vast herd of other writers penning the same sort of thing.

Now, if you live in your own, self imposed, walled garden of influences, isn't that far less likely to happen?

Originality comes from uniqueness of vision. And the more you isolate yourself from everyday influences, the more unique your view of the world is likely to be.

You see this play out often. 

Books and movies that appear with whole new worlds fully realized and developed are far more effective and successful than the same old same old. Especially when they're rich in original ideas and unique ways of looking at the world.

We honor artists most that are capable of shutting off the need to be like other creators. We like originality.

And to me the best way to be original is to create your own walled garden. 

Because inside your own world of chosen influences, you can FOCUS!

The media is about distraction - and the bigger the apparent crisis, the more distracted you become. And as we all know the enemy to creativity is distraction - and believing that the outside world is more compelling than our inner worlds.

Which, my friend, it's not. 

Your own personal journey through life is what's important.

Your own journey towards wisdom is what will inspire and focus your creativity.

And make you more original - in your thinking and your work.

Of course politicians and leaders and advertisers want you to think the way they do - and focus on what they think are the real issues - because it's in their interest to do that. They want to distract you from your journey and focus on theirs.

Don't get sucked in!

You need to focus on your own work, your own writing, if you're ever going to produce something of value.

Don't worry about relevance.

When you do something fine, it often becomes relevant on its own.

True brilliance shines with its own light.

And just like a diamond, you need to cut and polish your brilliance in private for a long time before you unveil it to the world.

And if you want your work to shine, then focus - and try to shut out distractions as much as possible.

Only then can you make your work shine.

And be truly original.

Keep writing!
 rob at home

"When other people define your game for you, they are likely to define it incorrectly."
Kim Goodwin
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