Writing Through The Noise

I don’t know about you, but my chorus can become extremely loud without notice. And as to why they are mostly negative noises I leave to someone with more shrink training than I have. But make no mistake - everyone who starts writing has to deal with some form of Miss Grundy, often shouting “You call that a word??!!”

In Writing Down The Bones (one of the best books for busting loose) Natalie Goldberg provides lots of exercises and several mental pictures. My favorite is the chorus of wet sheets in a laundry basket. You’re on the top of a hill. Hang the sheets on the clothesline. Listen to them flap in the wind. Wish them well. Then leave everything and walk down the hill, and down the valley, turn the corner to the Writing Road, where the air is soft (or maybe a good storm is brewing), and begin that glorious and difficult word-by-word journey.

I also like to review the inspirational clips I’ve put on my wall: clips that can become wallpaper, part of the scenery. But if you look at them with sudden awareness, one or the other or some or all may give you a hand. Here are a few of mine. They've helped me to writing through the noise. Feel free.

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”

— The Buddha

“As the Italian lady of the evening said, ‘It’s not the work, it’s the stairs.’”

— Elaine Stritch

“What I wanted to do was paint sunlight on the side of a house.”

—Edward Hopper

 “Stir up, rekindle the gift that is in you.”

—Paul, Timothy II

What really matters is the great March of the Words. Your words. No-one else’s. And if you let them march every day, pretty soon there are paragraphs and pages and accomplishment and enough to edit and shape and work with, and there is a thing, uniquely yours. And perhaps next time, the journey from the clothesline to the valley will be shorter, perhaps instantaneous. Because you’ll be so happy to be getting back to Your Words.