Sometimes writing feels like standing all alone in the fog–shivering in the damp–uncomfortable and vulnerable, waiting for the worst.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Writers write best in a supportive community, in a place where attempts are celebrated and seeds are planted–some intentionally and carefully like those meticulously cultivated gardens and some flung far and wide like dandelion seeds floating in the wind.
And writers also need to play and break the rules, find their own voice in the cacophony of others. Occasionally they need a nudge to take those carefully stacked plates and push them over, flinging the words here and there, then gathering them again to make meaning of the shards of ideas uncovered in the process.
Sometimes writers need to lean in close, breathe in the sweet scent of what it means to create new life as ideas emerge from words rubbed together.
At other times, writers need to step back and take in the long view. What new understandings reveal themselves when you look from the heights, from places you hadn’t dare stand before? Writing can be a process of discovery, exploring new territory or old territory from new perspectives.
Writers need inspiration, sparks that send them on wild chases and deep digs. And to be inspired, writers must open themselves–listen carefully, look widely, pay attention to the mundane, and seek out the ordinary. Nothing is too lowly to inspire words and ideas. Consider even the cat, asleep, with its head in a box.
But mostly, writers need to trust that they have something to say–to themselves, to their neighbors, to readers and other writers. They have to trust that words matter, thoughts matter, and the world matters. They must want to write, and need to writer, but most of all, they actually have to do that thing that so many resist, and WRITE!
If you want to make a writer.
***Note: This piece was inspired by the article Hey Matt by Molly Toussant where she writes about her beliefs about teaching writing. This piece was created as a “found photo essay” inspired by a peek at my media library as a way to think about writing and writing instruction.