Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gwen and I meet today as we always do on Tuesdays. We have a standing writing date for every Tuesday morning. Today we also need to spend some time on our govt. project. We had a meeting yesterday and we need to remember some things we talked about before things fall away during the Christmas week. When Gwen said this to me yesterday, I said, 'sure but let's do OUR writing first then it won't get short shrift.'.
The other day I wrote about tricks and today I want to write about the underpinnings, the bedrock of a writing practice. There is only one thing that makes you a writer. It isn't whether you are published or not. It isn't what it says on your business card or what your friends call you. It is only that you write. If you say you are a writer and you spend the bulk of your time talking about writing or researching the best way to write or to get your writing out there - you are hurting your practice. The practice of a writer is to write - pure and simple. Artistic or spiritual practices share many of the same qualities - they are made up of an intention - "I am going to sit down on my cushion and meditate" "I am going to sit at my desk and write" - and a discipline. Neither of these are focused on the outcome - that is secondary or even tertiary or perhaps not included at all. Oh sure, we harbour hopes and fears - I will become enlightened, God will give me grace, I will be published and lauded as a writer, a publisher will write me a letter of acceptance, etc... but if we let the outcome guide our prayers, our meditation, our practice we will taste ashes in our mouths, we will feel empty not graced. Just like on my alter I have pictures of my teachers, above my desk I have images that inspire me or wake me up - a photo of what I imagine the cover of The Rock Walker will look like, some irritating rejections, a picture of an Owl Goddess (remind me to show you some time Sue!), a photo of me and my best friend etc... but these inspirations and warnings can only do their job if I do mine - which is as a writer to write!


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

You make a great point here, Jan. We've got to practice and all the research in the world isn't going to help if we don't write.

Mystery Writing is Murder

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thanks for following my blog!

Sue Goyette said...

Ooh, I want to see the Owl Goddess, I'm all about the Owl Goddess. Word about discipline!

Stacy Post said...

Amen, writer-sister. Amen.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

It's all about plunking yourself down and writing. Everything else is gravy.


P.S. Did I mention I'm a big gravy fan?

Jan Morrison said...

Elizabeth - yep, bums on chairs - forward we march (which is kind of awkward but hey!)
L. Diane - ditto! I love a spunky gal.
Sue - and so you shall. I mean I think she's an owl goddess - she has a crown and a big weird robe on and an owl flies over her. It's a print from Cuba. I'll show it to ya next time you're here.
Stacy - proud to be an art nun with you! Part of the cistern - nah, that's different but you know.
mmm...love that gravy Elspeth - especially made with the allowable spelt flour. Yay!