Tuesday, June 9, 2009

To Write is To Publish...Even if No One Sees What You've Written

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


Phoenix Rising said...

What a wonderfully inspiring blog. Thank you so much for the positive uplifting message.

Peace and blessings.

Mark David Gerson said...

I'm so glad you found it helpful. It's always important to remember why we write.

Sue Sullivan said...

Mark, I have felt intimidated by the word 'publish' until I read this post. It helps me see it as one step at a time and don't worry about where it will go. Thanks!

Sue Sullivan said...

Ooh, I just realized. I 'published' my comment. Oooh, I'm getting used to being published :)

Mark David Gerson said...

Indeed you are published! Congratulations!!

Joni Bonnell said...

Simplistic and inspiring. It makes writing seem achievable once again. I have been stuck in making a mountain out of a molehill with my writing so this post is exactly what I needed. Please keep writing. If I lived anywhere Albuquerque, I would be at the conference. If ever you get near MN, please let us know.

Mark David Gerson said...

Joni:: I'm so glad the post en-couraged you to keep going. I'm sorry you're not close by enough to participate in my local events, but I'm looking into the technology required to offer an interactive online class via webinar and will certainly keep you posted as that takes shape.

Meantime, I know you'd find both The Voice of the Muse book (from which this piece was adapted) and CD helpful on your creative journey. You can read/hear excerpts by clicking here.

And whatever else you do, keep writing!

mo╬╣ said...

Mannnn you are sooo inspiring, all with due respect. You helped me answer my own question! I luv your purpose :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, yeah, I'm on here too. lol
Great article, very inspiring. Never thought of publishing in that light. Well, in that case, my fictional story is published on WordPress.com. Sounds nice, hm, I hear my muse yawning. I believe he's coming back from nap-time. lol

cheryl @ mandala oasis said...

Hi Mark,
What a delight to receive your visit to my blog and the invitation to exchange links. Yes, I accept! I've already added your two blogs to my Mandala Oasis blog. I am so glad you enjoy my blog. My mandalas and other visual art..like my photographs of peonies at my Art in Every Day blog: www.artineveryday.blogspot.com indeed are music to my muse. The writing just comes. I am glad to share it..and to let it pour through. Cheers!
P.S. Please let me know when you come to Chicago.

Karen Walker said...

Hi Mark David,
Just wanted to let you know my friend Clara and I used "Voice of the Muse" as our guide at a two-day writing retreat on the Oregon Coast. It was a magical experience. I felt as if you as writing coach was gently whispering in my ear, guiding me each step of the way. I came home with renewed energy to begin three new writing projects. Bless you for the work you to do help other writers on their journey. Thank you thank you thank you.
Karen Walker

Mark David Gerson said...

Thanks, Karen. I'm deeply touched by your words and gratified that, through The Voice of the Muse, I could be with you on your writing retreat. I'm so glad it spurred you on!

http://truthregret.blogspot.com/ said...

Your blog is so inspirational. Thank you! I just started writing my autobiography as a blog and it feels daunting, but I need to do it. Any advice would be helpful.