Monday, July 15, 2013

Finding Your Way and Breaking Free From Doubt

By Laurie Epps

We are beginning Week #11 with Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones. This is a collection of essays that you can can read in small chunks. If you are new, you can just jump in and join the conversation. These essays are directly relevant for writing, but they also parallel life. Everything in life is a process, it is not exclusive to writing. Won't you join us?

Engendering Compassion
pp. 114-116

Response: I really loved this essay. I related to Natalie Goldberg as never before. I, too, fear lonliness. I question why God would ask an extrovert like me to spend much of my life's works spent in seclusion writing. We don't have the normal 9 am- 5 pm job where we go to work, and when we come home we are just done for the day. For many of us there isn't that hard barrier of time to unwind and just forget about it.

Many of us, myself included, are always writing, even with the absence of our laptop, iPad, smartphone, or pen. We are trying to remember moments, and we describe them in detail in our heads, hoping to remember and savor every moment.

However, Goldberg gives us a "map" to get us through it. Having a great sense of direction, I rarely feel lost. But what do we do if we are lost? We get out a map if we are able, we ask questions. We figure out where we are, and we plan where we're going.

Today, as a writer, where are you? Where are you going? Please answer these questions internally or share with us where you are at in your journey as a writer below.

Doubt is Torture
pp. 117-118

Best advice: "If you're going to write, write." Don't let doubt creep in and tell you it's stupid or that you're irrelevant. If the publisher rejects your book, write another one. You will get better just from the practice.

A Little Sweet
p. 119

From Judaism-- When a young boy begins to study the Torah, he is given a taste of honey or something sweet. This is so that he will make a positive connection with the laws and stories in the Torah are good and sweet. It should be the same with writing. What makes writing good is the process, or as traveler's say, "it's the getting there that is good. Be friends with your writing and don't fight the process.

How do you making your writing a little sweet? Do you reward yourself for your writing? If you do, share with us your reward system in the comments section below.

A New Moment
pp. 120-121

Katagiri Roshi often used to say: "Take one step off an a hundred foot pole."

Uncertainty. As writers or any other kind of artist, we face this fear every day. We don't have a guaranteed income. Just because we wrote something really great, it doesn't mean it will all be great. Part of writing, and of life really, is a process. It is important to keep at the wheel, and stay true to the process. So you just signed a book deal, GREAT. Keep writing. So everything you write lately is a lot of rubbish. GREAT. Keep writing anyway. What defines us as writer is the process. Surrender yourself to your art.

Laurie Epps is a senior at Anderson University majoring in Creative Writing. Already Laurie is most published as a feature article writer, essayist, and poet. A seeker of beauty and world traveler, Laurie hopes to grow into a career in travel writing illuminating the many stories that make us human despite our differences. Currently, Laurie also has a Thoughtful Thursday column dedicated to the fine art of poetry and a column called Fiction to Film that is an accompaniment to English 365 at Anderson University.

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