“It seems to me that those songs that have been any good, I have nothing muchto do with the writing of them. The words have just crawled down my sleeve and come out on the page.” Joan Baez
“Don’t be the writer who gets in the way, stifling the very words that want to be written.”
Dinty W. Moore, The Mindful Writer
Anyone who’s been writing for a while has had experiences like this: Moments where what you’re writing takes over and more or less tells you where it wants to go. I know it’s happened to me with my nonfiction book projects: Once I began writing and reached a
certain critical mass, a momentum built, the project became organic and took on a life of its own. Some chapters in my chapter outline disappeared and new ones were born. It’s a fascinating process and to me, it’s always a sign that I’m on the right track. I’ve had the same feeling at key moments as my children’s novel has taken shape.
How do we get out of our own way, so our writing can tell us where it wants to go? In his lovely little guide, The Mindful Writer, Dinty Moore says that letting of the “iron-grip of control” is the answer.
As he puts it, …”I invariably trust that eventually the work takes over, the story or poem or essay accumulates its own momentum. It becomes my job not to guide it so much as to follow where it leads.
“To do this, however, you need to be focused, mindful enough to sense the faint voice, recognizing that live of poetry, refrain of a song, or snippet of unexpected dialogue, crawling down your sleeve.”
So let’s get quiet, listen to that inner voice, surrender the need for control, and see where our words take us as we all write on.