“Artists are people who are not at all interested in the facts—only in the truth. You get the facts from outside. The truth you get from inside.” --Ursula K. LeGuin

Thursday, January 5, 2017

You Can''t Teach Writing

That’s a load of crap.

Like no one could show Michaelengo how to hold a chisel? No one ever told him what to do if that chisel slipped?

They can teach the mechanics, yep, how to hold chisels, pencils, how to use “lay” and “lie.” What they can’t teach is heart, how to go deep within and tell the truth, how to find that still small space where secrets lie and stories worth telling percolate.

It’s  like “The Secret,” part of the equation is missing.

But to say, “You Can’t Teach Writing is a cliché’. And too often we let cliché’s roll off our tongue without thought. Why is the world are writer’s offices lined with books on writing?

Because they believe in their hearts they are writers, but they want to know how to do it.

I remember hearing about an author at a Writer’s Conference who asked his audience how many wanted to be writers.

Well, that’s why they were there, to rub shoulders with the greats in the hopes something would rub off on them. Most hands went up.

 “Then what in the hell are you doing here?’ he said. “Go home and write.” (Writer’s swear a lot. It drives us to it.)

We all loved him for saying that.

What he didn’t say was, don’t listen to all these blow-hards, who will tell you how to do it. They will tell you again and again what you must do to write a query letter. How to write a proposal. How hard it is to get published. “Knock our socks off,” they say, like we aren’t trying. We’ve heard that drivel so much we want to puke.

We go to conferences for some meat. The problem is it doesn’t exist, except as a pin-point of light somewhere beneath the raging tiger within us that is obscuring the light. And they don’t know the magic any more than we do.

Except, we know it when we see it.

That author might have said, “Go home and get real. Write until the tiger is exhausted, and when he is gone or asleep, there you will find your light. There a writer will be born.

Maybe you will be published. Maybe you won’t. But you will find yourself in the process.

That’s the reason we write.

I’ve seen it over and over, at workshops, seminars events such as I recently attended with #Tony Robbins. A person will present a mundane problem like their diet—although that is often not mundane, but it’s not the problem. Something else is.

But we are embarrassed to rush in with “I will never do it because I’m not smart enough, I have a no talent. I’m not good enough.”

Most everybody thinks that.

"All I want is love,” some pious souls say.

While raging beneath the surface is a raging tiger.

What is the first thing you can remember?

Go there. Write about it. That’s a good place to begin…

P.S. Considering using Kindle Select as a publishing venue? Check in for the next post.