Sunday, February 15, 2015

Writing Happens Like This

Writing happens like this:

You never know what will appear when you sit down to write.

You only know you are a little scared that nothing will happen—no words, no ideas, no thoughts will come—and you'll be left staring at a blank page.

So, you sit and wait for something that isn’t yet on the page.

And when you find the courage to take that leap of faith and start writing, words do appear.

And these words lead to images and scenes and new ideas and thoughts.

And the next thing you know, the story is coming to life, breathing, expanding—not always where you might want or where you might have expected it to go.

You write until the words return to wherever they come from, and then you sit in silence and wait again—however long it takes—for the words to return.

It’s an ongoing process: listening, waiting, adding words, erasing words, hoping, dreaming.

Day after day.

Word after word.

Writing doesn’t always come in a rush of words like a waterfall (though sometimes the words can come so quickly it’s hard to keep up with them).

More often it’s like a reluctant spigot, a faucet with a knob that’s difficult to turn. 

It's hard to remember that if you sit and wait, the words will flow on their own, without any need for you to twist a knob.

All it takes is learning to sit and wait with pen poised over paper, or fingers suspended over the keyboard, and remain alert and listen closely and keep hoping.

It takes enormous faith to believe that the words will come.

But when they come, they can fill you with a deep sense of connection, and that’s the best kind of writing.

It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, writing can seem as natural as breathing.

Inhale an idea, an image.

Exhale a word, a phrase.

Before you realize it, you’ve written a sentence, a paragraph, a page.

And in front of you is your story.

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