May 6, 2016 – For me, writing is like taking a shamanic journey. If I try to fully direct and control it, especially with a specific outcome in mind, nothing (worthwhile) happens. If I start with a blank mind, fully open to receive, nothing happens! As in life, the process has to be give and take. For example, we may go to the grocery store knowing what we want, but we don’t control what the grocery store has in stock. We look at what they have and choose what to buy. In writing, we set our intention, or topic, and see what flows. We write what we think or feel. Then we see what we have and what we can do with it.
For our writing to make sense for an audience, we need both the “unconscious” piece and the larger container, the intention of our manuscript. We need the passion and flow as well as something to focus and contain the flow to give it meaning. Containers are important. We all have different views of the world based on our life experiences. As an author, sometimes our intention might be to leave the interpretation of a moment in time wide open for the reader to explore the depths and meaning of their own reaction to the piece. More often, we may be driving toward a point, and we need to set the context which allows the reader to find a special meaning for that moment within our intended purpose.
When I write, it is kind of like doing a two-step. I have the passion that I hope sets the reader on fire. And I have the objective voice that I hope maintains the calm to carry my message forward. I move back and forth, I blend, and I focus. And when I can’t write, or I can’t publish, I know one of these is out of balance. (Hint: it’s usually too low on passion.)
The surprise, invitation, and frustration of “unconscious writing,” accessing the deepest feelings and hidden wisdom that propel us forward in our life-work, I believe, is all about our willingness to feel and embrace what is there. To write it down, save it, and eventually publish it is to have the courage, self-definition, and faith in the goodness of the universe to say, “Here I am!” And THAT, I believe, comes from having a larger purpose, a reason outside of ourselves for being alive on this Earthwalk at this time. And, one way or another, that story is what all our writing is about.
*photo (c) Art Held, 2016