There Is Nothing To Writing

love notes
Get my 15 simple practices to help you prioritize self-care. Download your “Tranquility in the Everyday workbook."
CHECK HERE

Topics

Archives

recent

posts

popular

posts

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 11.31.00 AM

Hemingway famously said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit at the typewriter and bleed.”

I’m sitting in a contoured plastic chair at a desk that I’ve moved toward the window—always seeking light—clacking away on my laptop. The view from this Kripalu room overlooks lush grounds peppered with trees and shrubs and a lake tucked inside the Berkshire mountains. It offers a safe respite from the bustling activity of yogis, writers, and seekers outside these four walls.

This is the second time I’ve taken the six-day Creative Writing Practice Sampler with Heather Sellers (Tranquility du Jour podcast #369). Despite being a repeater, I still feel like I’m learning a new language. At least trying to.

Some of my notes state: “We pad our writing with emotions to keep from feeling it. Let the reader do the math. Show a lot. Tell a little. Never explain. Write what you see, not what you know. Write slowly by hand. Steer towards what’s alive and active. Write in nouns and verbs. Infuse tension. Read with attention. Include turns (something that surprises). Avoid summary, background, judgment.” And the list goes on.

Although I wrote and published books before learning all of this, my eyes have opened to the meaning of “show, don’t tell” and what makes good writing. At times it’s inspiring, mostly it’s disheartening. Why? Because there is so much to learn and stories rarely flow on command.

This morning we shared work written last night and dissected two pieces: “Pretty Ice” and “The Cat in the Rain.” Both are riddled with subtext—things not said, but implied. Not taking text at face value shocks my way of seeing the written word. Ever get the audio add-on at art exhibits and ask yourself, “how in the world did this narrator get that from this painting?!” Me too, every. single. time. I’m usually like, “ohhh, I love Bonnard’s use of purple and orange.” Face value observation. Same thing here with writing.

After studying with Natalie Goldberg in May, attending the Creative Non-Fiction conference over Memorial Day weekend, and exploring writing with Christine Mason Miller (Tranquility du Jour podcasts #153 and #235) in June, this is my final slated writing workshop this year so I want to, well, figure it all out. Memoir plot, structure, book outline, book proposal. You know, everything. No pressure.

While the tools are plenty, it comes back to practice and process. The simple act of dropping into a chair, reaching for my Moleskine or laptop, and siting with the discomfort. Although I feel my confidence spike on rare occasion, it typically hovers near trauma.

Hemingway was right, the practice of writing is bleeding. Bisous. x

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save