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

Monday, June 1, 2009

"The Voice of the Muse" Named a Top Writing Book of 2009

Mark David Gerson's The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write was named one of the top writing books of the year last month in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, also known as the IPPYs.

Gerson's Silver Medal in the "writing/publishing" category was awarded in New York on May 29, in conjunction with BookExpo America, the U.S. book industry’s premier trade show.

The 2009 competition, the 13th for the Independent Publisher Book Awards, attracted more than 4,000 entries from the U.S., Canada and 10 other English-speaking countries and included winners published by Yale University Press and Kent State University Press.

"The excellence of the books was amazing and made judging very difficult," said Jim Barnes, one of the organizers. "The independent spirit of publishing is alive and well, as demonstrated by the creativity, originality and courageous spirit these books display."

This was Gerson's second IPPY. He won a Gold Medal last year for his novel, The MoonQuest: A True Fantasy, which continues to win awards in New Mexico and nationally. His screenplay adaptation of the book is currently in active development toward feature production.

The Voice of the Muse, distilled from Gerson's 33 years as a professional writer/editor and 16 years as a writing teacher and coach, is a dynamic blend of inspiration and instruction for anyone in any genre seeking to write more effortlessly, flowingly and engagingly. It has been likened to such classics in the genre as Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones and Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird

Lauded by critics as "the wise guide any writer would dream of" and a "phenomenal guide to overcoming writer's block and unleashing your creative potential," The Voice of the Muse has been equally praised by novice and seasoned writers alike.

Gerson has also recorded The Voice of the Muse Companion: Guided Meditations for Writers, a two-CD set that includes powerful exercises to free up and deepen creative flow. It's sold separately from the book.

Both Gerson's books are available from Amazon.com and other online retailers, from select other online booksellers and from the author's website. The CD is available from Amazon and from Gerson's site.

Mark David Gerson lives in Albuquerque, NM, where he's currently working on a sequel to The MoonQuest.

Click here for written and audio excerpts from The Voice of the Muse book, The Voice of the Muse CD and The MoonQuest