I'm not the one who invents the stories; I'm like a radio... Somehow, if I move the dial very carefully, I'll pick up the wave and get the story...
~ Isabelle Allende
Your stories exist...just as your dreams do. But it's the act of setting them to the page, of letting one word follow the next and then the next and then the next, that makes them real, that "publishes" them.
That's right: The act of publishing is an act of making public.
When you take your stories, those stories that have an existence only in your heart, an existence even your brain-mind may not see, when you take them and draw out the letters, stretch those letters into words and those words into sentences and paragraphs, magic happens. You take something that exists only in the airwaves, like a radio signal that broadcasts at a frequency not normally audible by the human ear, not normally picked up by even the most sophisticated audio equipment... You take that signal, which is your story, and translate it into a frequency that is audible. In doing that, you give it -- and yourself -- a new kind of life. A life in the public realm. A place on the radio dial of your life.
Perhaps you don't seek to have your work published in a conventional sense. Perhaps you do.
At this moment, it doesn't matter.
At this moment, all that matters is answering that call to write. All that matters is tuning in to that frequency, that normally inaudible signal, the one on which your Muse alone broadcasts, tuning in to it and taking down everything you hear. Everything. Without judgment. Without question. Without second-guessing. Without censoring.
All that matters is that you listen...and write.
Can you create enough silence in your life to listen for that radio signal, to listen for the voice of your Muse?
Stop, now. Turn off the radio, the stereo or the TV. Mute your computer.
Close your eyes, open your heart and listen.
What do you hear? What can you "publish" by setting it down on paper?
Take all the time you need. Gift yourself with all the time you need. Gift yourself with your stories, the stories that already exist in the airwaves around you. Gift yourself and the world. Start writing. Now.
If nothing happens beyond the writing, you will still have experienced the miracle of creation. If no one else sees or reads it, it has still been published: It has been given a physical life it never had before.
And just as every action in the universe has an impact on every being in that universe, or so our quantum scientists would have us believe, your words made manifest will have their effect.
If you do move from that point to print, that’s a bonus. But that’s not our starting point. Our starting point is you. You and your Muse. You and your stories. You and the word.
• If you'll be in New Mexico this fall and would welcome some help and inspiration with your writing, consider one of my classes or workshops, designed to motivate you and propel you forward on your creative journey. More information.
Adapted from The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write, winner of a 2009 IPPY Silver Medal as one of the top writings books of the year