Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dare to Feel. Dare to Connect

"Go to the emotional epicenter, where it hurts most, and write on. If you dare."
~ Bill Donovan, editor/publisher, Creative Screenwriting

"Only connect."
~ E.M. Forster

The call to write is a call to share our emotional depth with others. It's a call to be vulnerable. It's a call to connect.

Thing is, we don’t touch others at a deep level when we connect mind-to-mind, though that connection is a powerful and important one. We touch others at a deep level when we connect heart-to-heart.

Unless we write from our deepest heart, unless we tell the stories that move us, we will never move our readers.

I spent the first chunk of my writing career avoiding writing from what Bill Donovan calls the "emotional eipcenter." I observed and reported, intellectually and dispassionately. I told stories, but without heart.

In not revealing my feelings (at times, not even to myself), I failed to engage my readers in any but superficial ways. I failed them and I failed myself.

I didn't connect.

Do you want to write truth, the truth from which both powerful fiction and nonfiction arise? If you want to write truth, if you want to write words that will touch the deepest emotions and connections and truths of your reader, then you must write what your heart calls on you to write. You must go where you've never dared go before -- in your writing, certainly; in your life, perhaps.

You must, as I write in The Voice of the Muse's "Thirteen Rules for Writing," go for the jugular, for your jugular: "Go for the demon you would run from. Go for the feeling you would flee from. Go for that emotion you would deny. Once you put it on paper, you strip it of its power over you. Once you put it on paper, you free it to empower your work."

You free it, as well, to empower your readers. You empower them to feel their emotions, to be vulnerable and to share their stories.

"We tell our stories in order to live," Joan Didion writes in The White Album

We tell our stories, too, to connect.

There is neither life nor connection outside the heart.

• Where are you refusing to be vulnerable in your writing?

• Where are you afraid to reveal your feelings, perhaps even to yourself?

• In what ways are you reluctant to connect, heart-to-heart, with your readers?

• Where, right now, can you go for the jugular -- your jugular -- and dare to write from your emotional epicenter?

Adapted from >The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write.

Part of answering the call to write and birthing the book that's inside you involves tapping into that emotional epicenter. That's some of the work I do as a writing/creativity/life coach. Need help getting there? Drop me a line.

Photo by Mark David Gerson: Autumn by the Tesuque River, Tesuque, NM


Peter de Kock said...

I have read a lot of beautiful 'calls to write' from you Mark David but this one is my favorite. Thanks for sharing.

Mark David Gerson said...

Thanks, Peter!

Anonymous said...

Reading your post brings tears to my eyes, though I'm no different from millions who have probably suffered similar experiences or maybe worse than I.
But now, years later, I see the lessons in the experiences, and how they colored my choices, my mind and emotions, what I thought and felt about myself.
When I did the first meditation from your CD, my muse gave me a scroll. I never did find out what that scroll contained because I didn't ask, nor did I look. She was beautiful,and compassionate, a vision of all I wish I could be, or maybe was in another life. But I didn't go beyond that first meeting. Maybe in time... but the call is drawing me so fiercly. I may not be able to ignore it much longer. The flame hasn't gone out, the embers are still very hot, burning in silence.

River Jordan said...

I am not a very experienced writer. Of the few pieces I have written I have had better feedback with the ones closely related to my life. Thank you for sharing this. I learn much from your blogs. Thank you Mark.