Body-Mind-Spirit - Inspiration for Writers, Dreamers, and Seekers of Health & Happiness
I recently read a wonderful blog post by Jill Jepson (Writing As A Sacred Path) that talks about the freedom one finds in pinpointing one’s natural genre as a writer. Jill said she felt relieved when she realized she wasn’t a poet, and spoke of a poet who relaxed the day she understood she wasn’t a novelist. Of course many writers cross genres, myself included. In an interview with Lori A. May, Lori, noting I write poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, asked, “How do you balance all your writing interests.”
My response was, “I don’t balance them–they balance me! I find it helpful working on several projects simultaneously. If I’m stuck on one I go to another. The important thing is to keep writing. Sometimes I need time and space away from a project in order to gain perspective and clarity. My poems are narrative, so fiction and creative nonfiction don’t seem like much of a stretch–it just depends on how much territory I want to cover. A poem can be about something miniscule–an image or a moment. It can even tell a story, but its scope tends to be small. When I have something larger (or longer) to express, it usually takes the form of fiction or creative nonfiction. When I was growing up as a dancer, my teacher encouraged her students to study various techniques: ballet, modern, jazz, flamenco. She used to say, “a dancer is a dancer is a dancer,” which meant that properly trained dancers should be able to perform many techniques, because each one is a tool that enables greater artistic expression. Those were the days when Mikhail Baryshnikov blew everybody away dancing Twyla’s Tharp’s ‘Push Comes To Shove.’ It’s the same with writing; each genre offers the writer a different tool and expands possibilities for creative expression.”
What do you enjoy writing? If you’re not sure, don’t sweat it, just write. Whatever needs to come out will. Let your stories reveal themselves to you. Try and let go of the outcome and needing to be seen one way or another. It helps if you discard ambition and what you think you’re supposed to be writing. Trust what comes forward. Navigate from the inside out. Quit trying to prove anything to anybody. There is nothing to prove. You are enough. Create what must be created. Just show up. Surrender. If you’re a control freak like me, I know how challenging this can be, but control is an illusion. Give up the illusion of control. Listen to and trust voices that come. Do not judge them. You cannot do everything at once, but doing one thing at a time with love and attention is enough. It doesn’t matter what you write. Nurture and cultivate your practice. Sit down and listen. Allow yourself to be led.