Sixteen Writers, One Dog and Two Boxes of Gluten-Free Oreos
Sitting in a circle of women, all heading out together into the unknown, is so crazy good, it makes me wonder why don’t we all do this? How different would the world be if we all had safe places to tell our stories and stretch into our chosen craft?
Hmmm…. Good question.
You need these sacred spaces! We all do.
The other thing that is soul startling about these circles is how much we all learn – the heart plops of goodness that come tumbling out of everybody – I even shock myself with the things I come up with. And the nourishment that was my co-teacher Laurie Wagner in this last circle – whoa.
I thought I’d share a tad of my takeaways from this last writing retreat/circle in hopes they inspire you to convene your own!
1:: It is deeply comforting to write in a house filled with other writers, keys clacking, pens scratching. Find a few friends and spend a weekend in silence, writing, then read. Eat some good food, too.
2:: Dance. Walk. Scream. Let your body help you write.
3:: “Write about what you don’t know about what you know,” Eudora Welty. The unknown is where your stories come from, so go there.
4:: The babble of the world burbles, “You are only someone if you get rich and influence millions and do it overnight so get busy with that writing!” This noise can rip your work away from you before it can even emerge. Plug your ears.
5:: Truth matters. Tell it true. (Note: True and factual aren’t aways the same thing.) Your truth matters.
6:: Sometimes it is possible to allow the story to come to you, to invite it to emerge out of the collective imagination, the ground of being. Perhaps you do not have to strain and dig for your stories but instead listen into them, then shape with fierce tenderness. This is a possibility. How might this idea hold your next writing session?
7:: B.F. Skinner believed the physical act of writing is the cause, not the effect, of new and original thought.
8:: Write to discover. Rather than think.
(Click to tweet.)
9:: You can write longer and deeper than you think. You need only remember that nothing can eat you and that your stories matter. You may need to remind yourself of this every other word. That’s cool.
10:: “Good creative writing is almost always conceived in doubt, and fueled by an urgent desire to understand something that eludes understanding.” — Alice LaPlante
This means that when the thought, the word, the image flickers and sizzles just out of your reach, and you can’t pull it in, you can’t put into words what you want so much to put into words – you are doing it. You are writing. Stay right there. Keep breathing. This is how you do it.
What if the world is exploding with writing and storytelling and teaching because it is one way we might still save ourselves, and your stories are part of that redemption? What if?