Friday, August 5, 2011

You Can Write (Yes, You Can!)

Close your eyes and remember. Remember the stories you invented...
Remember wonder and imagination... Remember make-believe...

You can write.

If you can read these words, you can write.

You're saying "I'm not creative" or "I can't make up stories" or "I don't know how."

Well, you are, you can and you do. And you can do it without struggle.

Whoever you are, whatever your background, whatever your education, you can write -- in ways that bring meaning to your life, in ways that touch others.

The ability exists in all of us. We were born with it, with a unique voice, a unique way of seeing and describing the world, a unique palette of textures, images and hues with which to express what we feel, what we see, who we are.

As children we concocted imaginary places and playmates, soared with seagulls, raced with tigers. Close your eyes and remember. Remember the stories you invented. Remember wonder and imagination. Remember make-believe.

Watch your children, or your neighbor's children. Listen to the timeless stories they weave. We all crafted similar riches as children but, somehow, life got in the way. We grew more self-conscious. We were told not to make up stories. We feared being different. We were taught to write a certain way. We grew older, busier, more cautious. Slowly and without our being aware of it, the door to our creativity edged shut.

Now we wonder whether the key is lost for all time. It's not. That key remains within your grasp, always. It's your birthright. It's your story, your voice. And it has value.

There are many ways to unlock that door...

• Start by letting the child you were back into your life -- not to displace the adult you've become, but to enrich it.
• Start asking how and why again.
• Slow down.
• Run your hand over a tree trunk.
• Inhale the perfume of an autumn evening.
• Get up early and watch the sun rise.
• Study people. See how they walk. Hear how they talk. Make up stories about them.
• Pretend you're on vacation and start a journal, recording your impressions of people and places as though seeing them for the first time.

Try writing for 15 minutes without stopping, without thinking, without editing. You'll be amazed at how much you can write in such a short time. You'll be amazed at how good it is.

Don't censor yourself. Give yourself permission to write nonsense. Give yourself permission to begin without knowing where you're going. Writing is a voyage of discovery. Be open to the journey.

Look for books and groups that support your creativity, that let you tap into the writer you are. Find a quiet place and quiet time where you can write regularly. Find a quiet place within yourself.


The stories are there.

Photo #1 + #2 by Mark David Gerson: Story, AK + Pyramid Lake, NV.

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Jen McConnel said...

Thank you for your amazing words and constant inspiration!

Just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Liebster Award.

Anonymous said...

Great post...very inspiring. I'm want to rekindle my creativity...any more suggestions in regards to writer's block????
Thx a bunch!

Mark David Gerson said...

@anonymous - I'd suggest you browse through the three years of posts on this blog. It's filled with tips and inspiration on writing. Be sure to also check out my website for links to my youtube videos and to excerpts from my book on writing. Keep writing!

AdellaDworkin said...

The first paragraph made me feel weird inside. It reeled me in.
It's like there is a flashback in my mind of the past where we(me and my friends) create stories and write it in an old notebook and we are proud of it.

This blog made me write a story (i blame you, i should be doing my homework now... lol... jk)

Mark David Gerson said...

@Adella - Any day that I inspire someone to write a story is a good day! (But don't neglect your homework!!)

Liz said...

Mark David, this is a fantastic post. I'm planning to share this in my blog carnival this weekend. These are my favorite parts: the permission to write nonsense (because that's how I got started writing fiction) and the idea of the vacation journal.