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!