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Writing, like any spiritual undertaking, has many paths, but only one direction--deeper. Whichever path you follow, a few fundamental rules apply:
- The most important action you can take is to show up on the page;
- The more you can give up control over what you write, the more genuine your writing will be;
- Making room in your life to write generated even more room for your writing;
- The only true obstacle to writing creatively is a lack of faith that appears as fear and self-judgment.
Use these studies to begin journal entries, as warm-ups or sketches before getting down to "serious" writing, to mine ideas for a piece, to help develop characters for your novel by doing the studies as one of them, as prompts for your writing group or class, or to pass he time on a rainy Sunday night.
Sometimes I use the word diving, which is my term for what Natalie Goldberg calls writing practice, Deena Metzger calls automatic writing, and is often referred to as associative or free writing. Although these are the same activity, the emphasis differs. Try the first study, "Diving In." Diving is writing without stopping, crossing out or changing any words. The idea is to reach the uncensored material by letting go of the outcome and keeping the words flowing quickly. You are diving into your imagination. The only rule is, don't stop. You succeed as soon as you fill up the number of pages you allotted to the dive.
Many of the studies offer more than one way of approaching a topic. Let your intuition guide you. Whichever option is most enticing is the one to do. You may decide to try all the options at one sitting or each individually over time. The studies are designed to be reusable. No matter how you approach a study the first time, you will glean a new understanding the second time around. The quotes are furnishings to complement each study and further stir you.
No matter how successful you are fine-finishing your writing or making it public, you must always return to the first process of sitting down to write and finding out what you have to say, the putting of words together through grappling wit the thoughts, associations, emotions, and connections that form among your intellect, imagination, and heart. It is for this reason that I have gathered studies I use as a writer and creative writing teacher: to offer you a daily invitation to write and a way to enter the writing--a door for you to open. What you find behind each door is an adventure. Explore every room. Listen to yourself. Trust what you hear.
From Room To Write © 1996 Bonni Goldberg