“ Writing a poem … is a kind of possible love affair between something like the heart (that courageous but also shy factory of emotion) and the learned skills of the conscious mind. They make appointments with each other, and keep them, and something begins to happen. Or, they make appointments with each other but are casual and often fail to keep them: count on it, nothing happens.” –Mary Oliver, poet
What a heartbreakingly beautiful metaphor for a writer’s commitment to write.
It could also be about showing up at the studio with a palette of new paints, or picking up one’s instrument to play each morning. Showing up is the first step to inviting the creative energies of the heart and mind to do their dance. When I read this passage I was just about to go out to run errands. So instead, I am writing this blog, showing up as I have failed to do for my writing for some time now. Oh, there are plenty of good excuses..travel, tending to others, a pesky cold, entertaining, doing taxes. The list is always there.
One of the last blogs I wrote was about inspiration.
I mentioned how the stage was set for the moment of inspiration for my last book. None of that was planned. Today I am exploring how important it is to intentionally set the stage, allowing what I like to call “wandering around time.” For me that means spending time alone, walking in nature, reading something inspirational or provocative, meditating, or listening to music I like. I have no expectations. I am simply laying in the fire, feeding the embers that I know burn deep within.
Often people have asked me about how to become a writer.
The answer is absurdly simple: just write. Write about the weather, find a book of prompts or a list on the internet, keep a little notebook for those fleeting ideas that ambush you in the car or the grocery checkout line. Write about a conversation you just had or something that really annoys you.
Then set aside the time and just write.
Write without judgment or paying much attention to your mind’s running editorial comments. Sentence structure, grammar, spelling are irrelevant at this point. What you are doing is giving free reign to your self expression. What you are inviting is your own voice to speak without hesitation. If you learn to do this and trust this process, then your authentic voice will speak and it will resonate with your readers.
I learned to find my own writing voice this way.
I gave myself the gift of a writing workshop conducted by my dear mentor and friend Nancy Aronie in Martha’s Vineyard. She gave us a topic and only twenty minutes to write something. No place to hide and no excuses. With my full commitment, I surprised myself by writing a poem in that time.
Yes, life has legitimate demands. But I have learned that Art does too.
It can be as important to our health and wellbeing as all those other things on our list. What is more magical, transformative and nurturing that the joining of heart and mind expressed in a story, painting or piece of music? What is more transportive than the expression of our deepest self. And what could be more important than offering that gift of expression toa world that has largely lost its way. I have not yet begun my next book. But I never will if I don’t just sit and write.
JenningsWire.com is an online feature magazine created by National Publicist, Annie Jennings, of the PR Firm specializing in providing publicity services and book promotion to authors, speakers and experts. Annie’s firm offers the famous pay for placement publicity program as well the powerful radio talk show campaign that comes up a guarantee of performance, bookings on big radio talk shows in major cities as well as unlimited media training.