Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Why Aren't You Writing?

Why aren’t you writing? You don’t know what to write? It doesn’t matter.

Write anyway. Place one word, any word, on the page. A single word. That’s all it takes.

That single word, whatever it is, will launch you on a journey into your creativity and beyond your imagination.

One word. That's all it takes.

Open any book to a random page, close your eyes and point.

Write that word.

What about the next word, and the word after that? And the word after that? What about sentences and paragraphs? What about a subject?

You are the subject.

I don’t mean you will be writing about yourself -- though you might be. You are the subject and your pen is sovereign. And that pen will carry you on an extraordinary journey of discovery, if you let it...writing flowingly and freely on the Muse Stream, letting the sentences unfold without your conscious mind getting in the way.

What you will experience is freedom from your mind, freedom for your story. When you write on the Muse Stream, you throw off the shackles of logic and leap into the inkwell of the unknown -- a well within which reside all the stories you could ever want to write, all the catharsis you could ever want to experience, all the emotion you could ever want to express.

It’s so simple.

Take the first word you write and, without thinking, write another. It needn’t flow logically from the first. Perhaps it’s an association -- "chair" makes you think of “table.” What does “table” remind you of?

Don’t think about it. Let the first word that comes to you, whatever it is, be the next word you write.

It doesn’t make sense? It doesn’t have to make sense. It may be better if it doesn’t.

Just let one word trigger another and then another, until something shifts - and it will -- and the flow is undammed. From there, that flow can carry you on a current of words, images and emotions. If you let it..

Why not let it? Why not write now? Why not pick a word at random from this blog post? Why write that one word and then another, and then another. Why not keep writing for 10 minutes or 20 or 30? Why not let the words take charge, propelling you forward on a journey of discovery, wonder and awe.

~ adapted from The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write (LightLines Media) (c) 2008 Mark David Gerson

Photo by Mark David Gerson: the Yellowstone River, the longest undammed river in the lower 48 states


Alyce Barry said...

This excerpt reminds me of that Rumi poem,

Welcome difficulty.
Learn the alchemy True Human Beings know:
the moment you accept what troubles you've been given, the door opens.
Welcome difficulty as a familiar comrade. Joke with torment brought by the Friend.

(a portion of it, anyway, translation by Coleman Barks)

Gabriel Gadfly said...

"Why aren't you writing?" is a wonderful question to ask any writer. In my experience, my answer usually sounds like an excuse to me, so I settle down and start writing. :P

Mark David Gerson said...

Alyce: The Rumi quote reminds me of the epigraph that opens The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write: "Writing is alchemy...truly a tool of wizards, witches and sorcerers. It’s the magic wand, the incantation, the wave of the hand that transforms all..."

Gabriel: Good point. But sometimes the "excuse" is a stand-in for a deep-seated fear that needs to be acknowledged for the writing to move forward.

Rupert Alistair said...

Mark David, you hit the nail on the head for me in your response to Gabriel. Deep-seated fear that the words won't make sense or worse yet that they won't convey the message I'm trying to translate.

Mark David Gerson said...

Yet when we write from the heart, Rupert, from the place of deep-seated passion for our story, our words will defy what the mind believes and will transcend what the mind understands to touch and transform readers in a way the mind never can. That's what art is all about.

Trust the voice of your heart (which is the voice of your muse) and your words will awaken hearts and impassion souls -- beginning with yours.

(When I use the word "story," I use it in its broadest sense, to encompass anything that we write.)