Monday, December 13, 2010

Why Aren't You Writing?

Why aren’t you writing? You don’t know what to write? It doesn’t matter.

Write anyway. Place one word, any word, on the page. A single word. That’s all it takes.

That single word, whatever it is, will launch you on a journey into your creativity and beyond your imagination.

One word. That's all it takes.

Open any book to a random page, close your eyes and point.

Write that word.

What about the next word, and the word after that? And the word after that? What about sentences and paragraphs? What about a subject?

You are the subject.

I don’t mean you will be writing about yourself -- though you might be. You are the subject and your pen is sovereign. And that pen will carry you on an extraordinary journey of discovery, if you let it...writing flowingly and freely on the Muse Stream, letting the sentences unfold without your conscious mind getting in the way.

What you will experience is freedom from your mind, freedom for your story. When you write on the Muse Stream, you throw off the shackles of logic and leap into the inkwell of the unknown -- a well within which reside all the stories you could ever want to write, all the catharsis you could ever want to experience, all the emotion you could ever want to express.

It’s so simple.

Take the first word you write and, without thinking, write another. It needn’t flow logically from the first. Perhaps it’s an association -- "chair" makes you think of “table.” What does “table” remind you of?

Don’t think about it. Let the first word that comes to you, whatever it is, be the next word you write.

It doesn’t make sense? It doesn’t have to make sense. It may be better if it doesn’t.

Just let one word trigger another and then another, until something shifts - and it will -- and the flow is undammed. From there, that flow can carry you on a current of words, images and emotions. If you let it..

Why not let it? Why not write now? Why not pick a word at random from this blog post? Why write that one word and then another, and then another. Why not keep writing for 10 minutes or 20 or 30? Why not let the words take charge, propelling you forward on a journey of discovery, wonder and awe.

~ adapted from The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write (LightLines Media) (c) 2008 Mark David Gerson

Photo by Mark David Gerson: the Yellowstone River, the longest undammed river in the lower 48 states

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Light on Your Creative Journey (Video)

"There are no rules."
~ Mark David's first rule for writing (and most everything else)

Back in November 2009, I was privileged to be part of Steve and Barbara Rother's Virtual Light Broadcast. In a 26-minute interview with author/editor Sandie Sedgbeer, recorded live before a studio audience in Las Vegas, we talked about writing, spirituality and the creative process.

"The universe is made up of stories, not atoms," I told Sandie, quoting poet Muriel Rukeyser. We all have stories to tell and we all have an innate ability to free those stories onto the page in a process that is nearly always life-changing -- for ourselves and for our readers.

Unlock your creative self by trusting the stories alive within you...and (re)discover the writer you are!

Other inspiring videos on writing/creativity.

Give the gift of creativity and inspiration this holiday season, with special Holiday Gift Editions of Mark David's books and CDs...

For a limited time only: Gift-wrapped books + book/CD packages signed by Mark David to your friends/family members, and shipped directly to them with a card bearing the holiday message of your choice.
*** Order yours today!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Myth of Perfection

"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one."
~ Elbert Hubbard

"Have no fear of perfection, you'll never reach it."
~ Salvador Dali

Are you frustrated?

Do you struggle to find the perfect words that consummately evoke the depth of your passion or flawlessly paint the fullness of your vision?

Are you frustrated because the words you have chosen seem inadequate, their ordering unsatisfactory?

You’re not alone. Many writers echo your frustration.

It’s a futile frustration, for language is an approximation. It’s a powerful but often inadequate device for translating experience and emotion into a form others can share.

When I originally wrote these words for an early draft of The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write, the sun was sliding through a marbled Hawaii sky toward the Pacific, its light skipping across wind-rippled waters.

If I was successful in that description, you will have seen some version of an ocean sunset. Some version, but not mine.

It may approach mine. It may approximate mine. Yet my words, as expertly as I may have deployed them, cannot create a Kodak moment. (Even Kodak can’t create a perfect Kodak moment.) My words are more likely to create an Impressionist moment.

That's not a bad thing. It gives readers space to have their own experience, to paint their own pictures from the words you have freed from your pen.

Just as you can't control the words that flow from you, you can't control your reader’s experience of those words. Nor would you want to.

How often have you been disappointed by a film portrayal of your favorite literary character because your inner director cast the role more astutely than the movie director did?

Empower your readers to have their own experience and recognize that all you can do is translate your experience as heartfully as you’re able into little squiggles on a page. Begin by recognizing that most of the time you’re only going to come close. Continue by knowing that it remains within your power to have your words incite revolution, topple dynasties, overthrow "reality."

That’s perfect enough for me. How about you?

Can you let go your natural human perfectionism long enough to let your story tell itself to you on the page?

What are you waiting for? Pick up your pen. Describe what you see, what you feel, what you yearn for, what you love. Don’t try to be perfect.

Don’t try at all. Just allow. And know that from that place of surrender, you are creating perfection.

Adapted from The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write, winner of an IPPY Silver Medal as one of the top writings books of the year.

Photos: Santa Monica sunset (c) 2010 Mark David Gerson. Image of Salvador Dali from the University of Buffalo's 2009 Anderson Gallery Dali exhibition.