Sing it, sister, oil bar on paper, 15-minute painting series, www.carolineallen.com
ALL WEEK, the theme with several clients has been letting go of control, not trying to be perfect, letting the words flow, or as one client put it “just slapping the writing down”.
I’ve spent more time this week discussing the process of writing than actually focusing on the written word. Coaching usually works like this: A client sends me a chapter of their novel or memoir. I provide written feedback, and then once every two weeks we talk on the phone or skype and discuss that feedback, as well as steps needed for to go forward in writing furture chapters.
But this week, most clients didn’t need to talk about the words, the sentences or the paragraphs. Most were in real need for guidance around the actual process of writing. How can I stop trying to get the words perfect, so I can really access the soul of my story? How can I open up to letting the story tell itself, instead of trying to control it? How can I let the rough draft be rough?
Most of us have spent our lives in a linear world. Our school system, our work lives reward us for being linear, for being fully embedded in the intellect. We use our brains, and we’re well compensated for it. The more perfect we are at our jobs, the more money we make, the more promotions we receive. The creative process is NOT like this . Many many clients have a hard time switching from this straight-forward world to the more mysterious life of being an artist. To write a powerful novel, we cannot be linear. We cannot be in total control. We must soulfully enter the writing process, let go of the intellect, and try to hear the still small voice inside, no matter how eccentric that voice.
Delving creatively into the novel, we may find we spend entire writing sessions not actually writing words. Instead we mull. We ponder. We fantasize. We swim in the creative unconscious.
It sounds much easier than it actually is. We’ve spent so many years in training to be good little linear workers, that when we switch to the artistic process of writing a novel, so much fear can come up. Will we get into “trouble” for letting go of the linear and focusing on the soul? Some of us have fear that’s so profound, we actually fear death with this new lifestyle.
Break through this fear, and you’ll find a wealth you could’ve hardly imagined.
I’m a writing coach and offer a free initial consultation. www.artofstorytellingonline.com.