Writing Practice

Crows--those tricksters--watch over me as a write.

I’m reading more Natalie Goldberg: Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer’s Craft. Thinking about what Goldberg writes reminds me of something Sandy Asher said at Chautauqua last year. If you want to make money as a writer, “Do one thing, do it well, do it over and over again”. Natalie seems to have found her place as a writer early in her career and she’s become an icon by crafting book after book about the writing process.

It seems so simple, what she advocates—writing practice. Basically a writer must put pen to page and freewrite without stopping on a regular basis. Such writing gets the juices flowing and leads to more writing and more and . . . well, you get it. Writing practice makes one a writer.

In her own writing, Goldberg shows us how she sees the world and a writer’s place within it. In every book, she comes up with a few illuminating lines that are worth the cost of the whole book: ” . . . writing is a place where we can meet ourselves deeply, encounter the imprint of something immense running through us. It’s a place to face wild mind head-on and apprehend the design of the universe.”

You gotta love that: encounter the imprint of something immense running through us.

Maybe you’re thinking, but I just write books for kids. Ah, yes! The writer of books for little kiddies. How important is that? You might as well ask yourself how important kids themselves are. A child IS the immensity . . . life loving its own existence so much that it continues, generation after generation after generation.

Today as you write, ask yourself: Am I tapping into the immensity running through me? Am I revealing it in some way to my readers? Am I illuminating something about human existence? Am I facing wild mind head on? Or am I turning my back on it to appeal to the marketplace? Follow Goldberg’s advice and use one of these questions for a freewrite. Write the question at the top of a page, put pen to paper, and write without stopping for ten minutes. Go!

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