This is an old post from 2012. In preparing for the upcoming writing retreat at my knitting studio it is interesting reading older blog post about writing.
Haven’t finished the entrelac and colorwork mittens I have on the needles yet, but yesterday I charted two new designs, strung beads onto Drops Alpaca for a beaded lace scarf, and sketched out the design for Belarusian-inspired wrist warmers with colorwork and lace. Why can’t I be a one project at a time artist? In my writing and design – and life! – it seems I am always most productive when juggling lots of projects. So today I will have a post about Lithuanian wool. But first, a useful and inspiring distraction.
Today, identify your current perspective about your writing. For instance, my perspective had been: Writing is a marketing tool I can use to build my business and help others.
Then, consider the new perspective I’ve asserted here – writing is soul work.
What is my current perspective?
I think there are two kinds of writing. Perhaps more, but I’ll focus on two here. Sometimes we write for a business or practical purpose, to communicate a message to someone (an email, a letter, a text message), to tell someone about a product (that we are selling or even something we just love that we want to share with friends), to request information, to set up an appointment. The details don’t matter. But this is mundane writing. It requires skill to communicate effectively, but it’s not what I would consider “soul work”.
Then there’s what would be considered creative writing. Creative doesn’t mean it has to be fiction or poetry, or even prose of a particularly “literary” flavor. But it means that it has a purpose beyond just simple communication. This is where “soul work” comes into the picture. When I write creatively, I am reaching down deep into myself to find my passions, my obsessions, my loves, hates, and fears, and to place them boldly and fearlessly on the page — or perhaps with shaking knees and butterflies in my stomach.
How does that perspective impact you?
I’m not certain. It’s not something I think about while I am actually writing. It’s an observation I make after the fact. I just write, letting the needs of the audience and my own needs as a writer inform the writing process and content and style of each piece. Without the balance between writer and reader, it just doesn’t work.
How does it help you overcome your creative fear?
I don’t try to overcome my creative fear. I just write through it. At some point in the process, the communication and the passion take over and the writing begins to flow. Sometimes I need to write in my private journal for this to happen, to tell myself that no one will ever see what I am writing. Then I can decide later which bits and pieces I want to type up and share with the world. But I think fear is an important part of the writing process. If you’re not afraid, you’re not going deep enough.
How does it help you make time to write?
I don’t think it does. I write for several different reasons. My favorite is having a driving urge to get thoughts into paper, to figure out what I think. Kind of like a verbal jazz improvisation. But I also write to communicate, to make money, and to meet deadlines and obligations. So I find time to write out if necessity in all of these situations.
How does it help you choose what to write about and how?
I don’t know that I choose my topics, at least not consciously. They seem to choose me. I most often write about my current passion or obsession.