I’ve never abseiled off the side of a building or walked a tightrope, but I’ve bared my soul in writing and thrown it with abandon into the world. I’ve taken emotional risks with my words that can feel as petrifying and as dangerous as taking similar risks with my body.
And I’ve survived.
I’m privileged to watch people in my workshops week in and week out access the deep courage it requires to take those very same risks. To become vulnerable. To try things out. To expose their fears of shame and failure.
Why is writing so terrifying? In this post from last year, I begin to unpack that question. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject when you have finished reading…
Enjoy GET IT WRITE
“I’m interested in doing your workshop but the idea of writing intimidates me…”
I’ve heard this often. It seems the very act of picking up a pen and relaying thoughts and feelings can become burly & threatening, like a school bully who syphons power by frightening others. Sadly, very often that ‘bully’ has been frightened themselves and when they can access help or understanding, there is the potential to deactivate the charge.
So how do we make sense of why the idea of writing is scaring so many people?
Here lies my answer. For many years, traditional western education has hijacked writing and twisted it into something unnecessarily menacing. Something that needs to be done ‘correctly’. Something that will result in a mark or grade that is judged by an outsider – a source of authority. This leaves very little room to embrace the wayward and unruly workings of our human minds. This leaves absolutely no room to celebrate unconventional structures such as:
Outside. Bounce. Bounce. That ball doesn’t never ever stop. STOP. bounce. Bounce. In my brain. Slam dunking my words away from the train of thought I am riding. With my head out the window. Like a dog. Sniffing. Ears flapping, listening. Absorbing worlds of. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
In recent years the foundations have been shifting, but in 1979 that wouldn’t have earned me an ‘A’ anywhere, especially not in England. In my early education, creativity was shackled with strict limitations. Apparently we were only allowed to light up the right side of our brains (the creative centre) in nursery school or art class. Even then I have recollections of the teacher removing the brush from my hand and painting over my canvas, in a concerted effort to show me how to ‘improve’.
It’s not a shocker that twenty or thirty years later many people cower from the prospect of trying something just for the hell of it. Letting words out of the enclosure. Giving sentences permission to roam lawlessly. To soar high. To float gently.
In reality, it is not the act of writing that scares us but the external judge, who currently occupies our inner landscapes, ruling the domain with unmerciful glee.
What do I say to those prospective participants – the ones who are drawn towards the workshops but who feel intimidated?
Face the bully!
Straighten your shoulders!
Stick your tongue out!
Hold up a shameless finger and kick the gate open!
There are acres of gorgeous ground to cover. Wasted wooly woodlands filled with creative possibility. Magical truth tunnels. Whispering story trees. And the written word is waiting to lead you on your own guided tour.
So don’t write to please ‘them’ – they have their own issues to tackle. Don’t try and get it ‘right’ because ‘right’ is a moveable feast.
The solution is delightfully simple.
You guessed it… Write To Be You.
Start here! Start Now! Share a spontaneous response to this post. Can be anything… a personal account, a fictional story, a tangled net of words. Share anonymously if that feels safer. Work up to declaring your name. Reinvent or reconnect. Find freedom through your words…