Sunday, July 05, 2009

What We Share

Writing is all about taking risks... and not knowing... and sometimes I think we forget this.

We stay close to shore, afraid to venture into deep water because the currents may prove too strong and sweep us out to sea.

Or we write from shore, just our toes in the water, pretending that we’re swimming in deep water or floating in the deep end of the pool.

Almost anyone can put words on paper, create sentences, build a narrative once they learn the basic elements of writing.

But the challenge for storytellers isn’t merely putting words on paper (although sometimes it seems that way). It’s finding the emotions to drive your words into the heart of your reader.

The most compelling stories touch my heart because of their deep emotional currents. They open not only my heart but my imagination so I can understand the world in a new way. And they remind me of my connection to that world and the people in it.

How a writer finds the emotional currents in his or her own stories is a challenge unique to each writer.

Each of us has to find our own key to unlock the floodgate behind which our words and stories are waiting.

That’s why it’s so hard to give advice to other writers. Each of us is different. Each of us needs to find what works for us.

It’s that struggle, rather than the solutions, that we share.

One writer’s struggle–how you go about finding your key–might help another writer, just as another writer’s struggle–my struggle, for instance–might help you find your key.

If you’ve found a key that works, a way to begin writing, for instance, share it with others.

You may be surprised by how helpful sharing your process may prove for others, and you may be even more surprised by what you gain from the simple act of sharing.

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