Pale pewter clouds are scattered across the morning sky. I’m back at my desk after a weekend at the
But back to the writer within. Years ago my first book Writing Out the Storm was dropped by the publisher after it had only been out about a year. I was broken hearted. Only recently I learned that the publisher had lost their distributor and that was the reason they quit publishing and distributing my book. At the time I bought many boxes of the books and have since been selling them in my workshop and on Amazon. But distraught, I called someone with a publishing background for advice and solace. She told, “I think that we don’t so much choose writing as writing chooses us.”
Her words struck a deep chord because I have always written, have always needed to make sense of things by writing. And clearly writing chooses many of us. Now, I don’t mean slimebags like George Tenant who write books to cover their ass and somehow refurbish their deservedly tarnished reputations. I mean those of us who somehow must tell stories, who must witness all the bad and ugly, beautiful and sublime of life on this planet. And place their witnessing onto the page for a reader.
When a person sits down to write all sorts of things happen. First, there is often anxiety that is part excitement, part uncertainty and part worry that you don’t quite have what it takes to say what needs to be said. Sometimes there is a firm plowing ahead as when a skier takes off down a steep slope, the first blasts of cold and wind rushing past. Sometimes it’s more like taking off and plopping over in a heap. You struggle to your feet, skis at an awkward angle, brush yourself off. Or, nothing much happens, and sometimes despair sets in or the writing that comes out seens feeble or weak or half baked.
So beginnings can be difficult, as can settling into the writing routine, making choices about what to work on, and crafting brilliant endings. Some days you gotta wonder why you’ve signed up for so much torment. The reasons are that we’re called to this task, and that when writing we can also feel joy and power and connection that doesn’t exist in other parts of our day.
But I also believe that when we sit down to write, or at any point in the writing process, there is a writer within. This writer within is a helper, a guide, a mentor, a genie. A part of us that can be understood, accessed, and cherished. A part of us that is free and easy as a bird that sings in response to being totally alive. A part of us that is fearless and courageous and wise.
The writer within is a place of stories, knowledge, power and intuition. It can be accessed in the same way that you slip a key in the ignition to start your car. There are tools that work as this key and we’re going to talk about them today.
Everyone who somehow is called to write has a writer within and it’s an inner place of magic and solace and boundless words. The writer within is a storehouse of memories, emotions and sensory data and includes distant dawns, tender caresses, jokes, funerals, campfires, misunderstandings, Sunday school classes, mountain streams, break-ups, teachers, childhood friends, and spring flower bouquets.
The writer within has seen it all—the majestic and the senseless and the silence of a star-filled midnight. It stores a landscape of sensory elements—bruised and cobalt skies, mountain trails and waterfalls, a sleeping child, a lover’s skin, an ocean’s shore, a snowfall, a blazing flower bed.
The writer within is linked to all our senses and knows the tumult of ocean waves, the scents of cinnamon and cedar and lilac and fresh-mown grass. It knows how hailstones feel against the skin and sound on the roof. In the store of senses are ice and wind and stones plopping into a summer pond. It knows how a horse hoof’s sound on an old road, the heat of asphalt in August, and the rituals tied to childhood such as the first day of school with its smell of new clothes and chalk.
The best news of all is that the writer within is always available. It’s never on vacation, never cranky or sad or too tired, too wired or too depressed to work. It’s an endless source of words and wit and wisdom. Really.