Inside the Box or Outside the Box? Great Question!

Tonight I was asked by a very good friend, “Why does everyone say to think outside the box?  What is inside the box that they don’t want us to think about?”  I think sometimes writers get confused on it when lines start to blur, but it really is not that hard of an answer.  She is right–constantly we are told to “think outside of the box”.  The funny thing to me is that I used to get yelled at in school because, according to my teachers, I think outside of it far too much!

That sure as heck didn’t stop me.  I still do this.  We should all dare to be different and not be forced into some type of mold that is really only enabling someone else to live their own lives or fantasies through our actions.  I am of the opinion that we should not really take the path of least resistance at all times because that may not be the best path for learning what we NEED to learn.  How will we meet new people that we can learn from if we constantly take the direction others expect us to take? 

When we do assert ourselves, that’s when people back away from us. When we practice that wonderful phenomenon of independent thought that is worlds apart from their own view–they alter it to make it sound like WE are making a mistake, (aka back peddling)  and then try to get us right back into the very box we just shied away from!  In extreme cases, they sometimes act as though we are abandoning them when we are not.  However, they have to accept that there comes a time when we have to make our own decisions, follow our hearts and then live with those decisions.  Any other action would leave us with some regret.

Now that I’ve given examples of how this can create a bit of difficulty, I will simply leave you with my definition of thinking inside the box vs. thinking outside the box.

THINKING INSIDE THE BOX – this is when you think or act in accordance with whatever everyone around you expects of you.  IF it fits their agenda, you won’t have to deal with that magic questions: “Why the heck did you do that?” or “Why would you ever think of doing that?”  To me, it IS the path of least resistance…

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX – I will make this short and sweet.  When one thinks “outside the box” means that you think and act independently no matter what. In  short you are going to be using your own authority to do as you like with your life AND with your writing.

For writers I like this definition *even if it sounds repetitive*–Thinking inside the box is usually the boring crap that everyone is expected to know and to act upon.   Thinking outside the box is when you come up with your own crap for a piece of writing that NOBODY can top, or conduct yourselves in such a manner that people just KNOW you are different and they will usually respect that!

There is an old saying that goes, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”  If people are asking WHY you did some oddball task or act,  or wrote something in such a way that they are uncomfortable, then it’s because they themselves have not learned to think outside that very box  that is within their own mind!   Yet they ask you why you don’t do so on occasion until you profit from it somehow!

Whether we are writing, and/or making decisions about our everyday lives, it is important that we use our own voices as we see fit so that those around us know that this came from our own inner sanctum. How we carry ourselves in our everyday lives does have bearing on how we write.  I do believe that. IF we carry ourselves in a way that commands respect, then it will come out in our writing.  Even if people don’t like the story line, they should at least be able to empathize with some character to a degree. 

I am new at this, so I am sure that with time and growth, my thoughts might evolve into something slightly different.  That is what good writing mentors are for and I do have a few!  Life also involves constant change and that writers have changed with them.  They will continue to do so.  Have a great weekend!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sex
    Dec 24, 2010 @ 07:40:29

    Hey, I found your blog in a new directory of blogs. I dont know how your blog came up, must have been a typo, anyway cool blog, I bookmarked you.


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