Chocolate icing on the cake of life

Previous posts in Rhobin’s rounds

Enjoy a few of my short stories

Rhobin’s topic for June, 2018: “How has writing rewarded you? What has it cost you?”


That’s one of my personal cliches: writing is the chocolate icing on the cake of life. When I get lost in creating, I am simultaneously channelling ideas and their expression in words from who-knows-where, and calmly calculating, assessing, reasoning.

This is very much like playing competitive chess was at an earlier stage of my life. It is also like building my house was: creating something new with my hands while learning at a furious rate. It is like the first time I established a vegetable garden, and ended up feeding my family the year around. Certain stages in the process of doing scientific research were like this, too.

All that was in the last century. This century, my creative process has focused on writing.

In the field of positive psychology, this state of full involvement is called “flow.” Its main researcher, Mihály Csikszentmihályi, wrote: “The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”

I’ve recently finished my next book, From Depression to Contentment, and flow is one of the tools I’ll instruct my readers in. Incidentally, I am still open to beta readers who can test out the program and give me feedback.

Acting in a creative way is a necessary part of flow.

We are all creative. We have evolved that way. It is an essential aspect of life. Sadly, life belts creativity out of many people. Particularly, the regimentation of schooling can do so, and the rigid cultures of some families.

So, that’s how writing rewards me.

Negatives? They are the negatives of any addiction. When pressure of other demands gets in the way of writing, I can get grumpy and impatient. (Mind you, when I am in the grip of creative writing, I get grumpy and impatient at interruptions. Ask my dear wife.) When on occasion the ideas refuse to flow, it’s not writer’s block but a deep abyss that threatens to swallow me. My way of coping? I take out another project, and get immersed in that. Later, I return to the previous, “cold,” and usually I identify the problem, or sidestep it.

I can thoroughly recommend writing as a positive addiction to anyone.

Please leave a comment below, then visit the other authors in Rhobin’s rounds and pester them with a comment, too.
Rhobin L Courtright
Skye Taylor
Victoria Chatham
A.J. Maguire
Anne Stenhouse
Beverley Bateman
Connie Vines
Diane Bator
Fiona McGier
Helena Fairfax
Marci Baun
Margaret Fieland
Marie Laval

About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
This entry was posted in Psychology, Rhobin's round robin. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Chocolate icing on the cake of life

  1. Your wife is a lucky woman. I have friends whose husbands have already retired, and they complain that since their men never developed any hobbies, they spend all of their time following their wives from room-to-room, wanting to be entertained…like having small children around again. My mom used to say retirement meant, “Half the money, twice the husband.” Luckily my own hubbie has hobbies of his own also. I just hope we can make it to retirement! Working 2 jobs (me) is very tiring.


    • Dr Bob Rich says:

      Thank you, Fiona. Having retired 5 times so far, I’ve had plenty of practice!
      You know, in Japan, women’s slang for a retired man is “the big garbage,” because people’s identities are defined exclusively by occupation. No occupation = no role to play.
      But I’ve never been a money-earning device, so…


  2. Dr Bob Rich says:

    Thank you, Anne. Mind you, my wife gets the same pleasure from textile crafts and cooking.


  3. Hi Bob, Who doesn’t like chocolate cake? We are so lucky to have this in our lives – writing, that is. Anne Stenhouse


  4. Dr Bob Rich says:

    Thank you for the comment, Marie. I wish all children had such instruction. I was once told, “School should be a place where kids have fun.”


  5. Marie Laval says:

    As a teacher in my non-writing life, I attended several training sessions a couple of years ago about how to get children ‘in the flow’ to make our teaching and their learning more effective. As a writer, I also completely agree that being in that special place where nothing else matters than your story and your characters is the best – the only – way to write.


  6. Dr Bob Rich says:

    Thank you, Skye. As we found out during our interview
    you and I share lots.


  7. Skye-writer says:

    Love, love, love your description that writing is the icing on the cake of life. I can’t imagine my life without a story going on – even when there are major distractions like my brother’s fight for life after surgery that went on for 3 months before he died. I traveled across the country to be with him, and there was no writing going on, but the promise of being able to return to my book eventually was always there. Same for while I’m researching and creating my characters – the story is there, just waiting for me to dive in and join the adventure. Cake without icing would be pretty dry – same with life without writing for me.


  8. J.Q. Rose says:

    I have never any addiction being positive, but I do agree writing is positive. Even when struggling, it stretches those creative muscles and when we finally accomplish the task, we glow with satisfaction!
    JQ Rose


  9. Rhobin says:

    I agree with all that you’ve stated, and writing is a positive addition because it stimulates the mind to stretch in many directions, and often think of things its owner never thought about before.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s