For those of us who truly care about writing, owning our author-ity as an author is sometimes a challenge, both because there is almost always a writer more successful than we are, and also because there are so many pretenders.…
Voice is our protector. Here is an excerpt from my book Women Voice and Writing, to help you think about this…
In a self-defense class, our instructor Peg taught that the voice is always the first line of defense. “Speak up. If you are being attacked, yell. It helps retard shock and shallow breathing. If you yell, your lungs fill up and you are more grounded and present than if you move into a flight response.” Peg instructs our class of 18 women to stomp our feet and yell “No!” then scream “911” all together.
We do this, loudly. A good deal of sound comes out. Then we laugh, a bit uncomfortable from our uncharacteristic shout. But one young woman is in tears. Peg, our instructor, asks her, “What’s going on?” The twenty-something woman says, “I’ve never yelled ‘NO!’ before, and it scared me. And it felt so good.”
Another excerpt from my book Women Voice and Writing.
Megan LeBoutillier used the term “creative wound.” There is an archtype of the wounded healer. The theory is that one needs to go through a healing crisis oneself, facing death or near death, before one can come into the fullness of her healing power. Only though the alchemy of this kind of transformation, then, can one understand and minister to others in healing.
Wounding may not be necessary to attain depth of voice. But if one has been through a crisis—creative or personal, that crisis can be used in service of strengthening voice. And clarifying voice.
There is a myth that one needs to make huge caverns of quiet time to write. The reality is that most writers begin in the margins of their unquiet life, and move to full-time writing as occupation only after many years. Writing in the margins becomes especially complicated for women with work, relationship, and children. The myth of needing time to write full-time may be confused with the need for some combination of solitude, silence, and stillness in order to write.
Here is an excerpt from my book Women Voice and Writing, to help you think about this…
Stephen King lets his books “sit” for 6 weeks after he has written them. He says he is sometimes tempted to go admire a sentence that came out just right, or go fix something that he’s been mulling over, but…
Sometimes when you are creating, you just need to put a lot of muscle into it. Here is an excerpt from my book Women Voice and Writing.
We have a myth that the Muse visits, like the tooth fairy, giving inspiration. This can of course happen, but in its own unique, un-forcible timing. Until then, and to woo the Muse, we need to sweat.
Rachel Vail touched on this myth first in my interviews, when she talked about the athleticism of writing:
What motivates you as a writer? What keeps you going, or rather coming back to the blank page (or screen)? Here is an excerpt from my book Women Voice and Writing, to help you think about this…
I was in a group of writers that met for two years to try to collaboratively write a book together. We learned a lot about different approaches to writing, and a lot more about each other. We were a tremendously rich resource for one another, an unlikely group of women. Left to our own devices, we would not probably have chosen each other as friends, yet the process of attending to task blossomed friendship within it.
However, after 18 months, we had copious outlines for our book, and no real writing yet. We had pieces here and there, but we kept losing momentum, then would regain it. It looked like our fire was going out.
I used to believe that writing could not be taught. Here’s my evidence. And… by the way… yes, I teach writing now. Ironic, no? Enjoy!
This podcast is about process–and the discipline needed to write and publish. It is an excerpt from my book, Women Voice and Writing.
Discipline. This is that aphorism: “It doesn’t matter how good you are, it’s how bad you want it.”
Ever wonder how to tame your inner critic, especially when you are starting a creative project? Can your critic be useful to the process? Here are some anecdotes from seasoned writers.