For the last few days I have found myself retreating into my journal more and more. Not that I am doing creative writing exercises or honing my craft/ideas/ writer discipline in any way shape or form. Simply, I want to understand this desire to write stories. I want to optimise my process and not throw myself haphazardly into the fray, hoping for the best.
I am sure that there are those who would refer to this soul searching as a rather elaborate form of procrastination and perhaps, on some level, they are right.
However, mental preparation and understanding your own motivation and process is an accepted part of training to be a professional athlete.
Writing a novel is going to be like running a marathon, I presume, and I want to be in pretty good condition before I put pen to paper.
I think seeing my writing as a spiritual practice helps me to rise above that nagging inner critic who thinks that deciding to be a ‘novelist’ is a ludicrous display of vanity and narcissism. ‘ Who the hell do you think you are?” the Harridan cries.
And I am answering Her call by trying to come up with an answer that gives a heartfelt response to this question.
Indeed, who the hell do I think I am? I am not connected, or experienced. I have no qualifications as a writer. But this I know. Being a writer of fiction has been the dream for as long as I can remember. Being a novelist has been the dream that I have run from as long as I can remember. I have found incredible ways of resisting this dream. I have married partners who confirmed how ridiculous it was to even think of doing such a thing. I have got degrees and certificates coming out my ears and yet the dream remains. She quietly whispers to me in the night, “you know what you need to do…. do this and you will be happy”
So I am embracing the idea that writing is a spiritual practice. Writing is my way of fulfilling my dharma, connecting with the divine, sharing something of myself with the world.
Because, even if I do not experience the hoped for outcome, I am determined to enjoy this journey. I want to savour every moment of my writing, even this stage when I am not writing very much at all. I want to feel that loss of self that comes from truly diving into a task and allowing the flow to run through me. I want to see writing not as self indulgence but as the ultimate act of self-care.
And I don’t think I am alone.
I have read books about honing your craft and just hammering out the words. There’s no mystery, they tell us, just set a deadline and get on with it.
But I am finding a different way.
I desire mystery. I want to feel devotion. I want the challenge to teach me something about myself and develop my strength to keep going because I am driven by love alone.
So today, I am pledging to see my creative process as a spiritual practice. I am gathering my inspiration and finding my mentors. I am taking this game seriously and wanting to do the best that I can so that I can look back and say to myself, “You did good. You learned well. You gave it your very best shot.”
And my best is good enough.
- Blogging 101: 10 Ways to Develop Confidence as a Writer (creativethunder.co)
- Spiritual writing (druidlife.wordpress.com)