Back to Basics

The beginner’s mind is what we must all come back to every time we sit down and write.    Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones

For weeks now I’ve struggled with my writing.  Each time I sat down to a blank page or a blank computer screen I froze, not knowing what to write, or if I wrote I thought it sounded bland, boring, blah!

I’ve focused all my energy recently on a story that I’m writing and it seems I’ve allocated all my writing time to editing and rewriting for the critique groups I attend.  Each week I want to have something to take, to read, to share.

But I realized the one thing I haven’t done is practice writing, the True Secret of Writing as taught by my mentor, Natalie Goldberg.

So, I’m going back to the beginning, back to basics, back to the practice that woke me up to writing in the first place.  Daily writing practice where I sit and write, a warm-up like a dancer stretching, or a runner taking the easy daily jog.  Writing practice is the simple letting go of any purpose but writing into whatever happens to be festering in my mind.  I start with an open ended prompt, a color, a place I lived,  my father’s smile, my first kiss, or simply I remember.

My hand moves constantly across the page, no editing or stopping, no crossing out, no punctuation; spelling, grammar, margins optional.  Like an archaeologist I sift through the sediment piled up in my mind and search for forgotten gems.

Writing practice becomes not only an exercise to improve my writing, not only a way to jog loose buried memories, but it becomes a practice in and of itself.  It becomes a form of meditation, a way to know and understand myself at a deeper level.

Writing prompt: Starting with I remember, Go – Write for ten minutes.  Keep your hand moving.  No crossing out.  Write like the wind – write like the pounding waves – write your heart out- write like there’s no tomorrow – write like your life depends on it.  Just Write! 


About Paula Todd King

My passions are my husband Ron, dogs who've blessed me with their love, writing, spending time in nature, meditating, reading, and finding gratitude in every waking moment. Earlier this year I was asked to join The Cloud Foundation as Communications Director,which has allowed me to contribute in a small way to help educate the public about the ongoing threat to our nations' Wild Horse Herds.
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8 Responses to Back to Basics

  1. Carole Brier says:

    Good luck, Paula. I’m aways on the look-out for prompts.


  2. Renay Marsh says:

    Enjoyed the read, and that is exactly the way it has been for me. Going to take your advice and get back to the basics. Looking forward to the prompts. :)

  3. Jane Edwards says:

    Thanks. I’d love the motivation.

  4. Great, I’ll try to keep it up. It will be good for me too!

  5. Leigh Ann says:

    Practice! Oh yeah, isn’t it amazing how easily we can lose sight of the journey on the way to the end. Thank you for reminding me how much joy is in the practice (not just for writing…) . As I read this I had such a clear picture of you curled up in a comfy chair on the back porch, afghan tucked around your legs, the early morning light streaming in and the wonderful aroma of Ron’s creama and fresh baked blueberry muffins gently wafting in…I love you and miss you.

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