Sunday, November 1, 2009

Discover Your Self Through Your Writing

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree.
“Which road do I take?” she asked.
“Where do you want to go?” was his response.
“I don't know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it doesn't matter.”Lewis Carroll

Writing is a curious occupation. Although I suppose there are those who can pen novels, poems, songs, or scripts without any ‘soul’ investment, most of us instead take a deep breath and jump down that wondrous rabbit hole. In order to have the courage, the stamina, and the sheer will-power to keep ourselves on track we need to have a reason to write.

"The greatest explorer on this earth never takes voyages as long as those of the man who descends to the depth of his heart." ~Julien Green

Here is my suggestion:

Write to Discover Your Self.
Write to Awaken Your Heart.
Write to Engage Your Soul.

Truth is the sheer effort of completing a book can be exhausting. The process of submitting can be discouraging. The endless promotions and networking can leave you numb. This is why, no matter what anyone tells you, you must Write What You Love.

"No one remains quite what he was when he recognizes himself." ~Thomas Mann

Every writer experiences it. Whether the composition is your own version of the great novel or simply a chatty email with a close friend, there comes a moment of clarity which illuminates your soul. You discover in that flash of insight a part of your Self. A shiver of excitement and an astonished, “Well, that’s true, isn’t it?” follows.

Writing is more than a path to publication. Writing is a journey to your soul. When you invest those precious minutes and push beyond the linear constraints of your rational mind to dangle precariously within the caverns of imagination something amazing occurs. There’s really no describing it as each author has her own amazing revelation. Yet we all know how it *feels*.

"It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts." ~K.T. Jong

However, if we allow the fickle and ever-changing market to guide our path or follow the advice of a thousand other writers (including myself!) on What To Write, we may be robbing ourselves of the greatest gift of all: Self-Discovery. And ironically, it’s often those who shun the rules who then create a new market. How often are we told that agents and publishers are looking for something different? So much so that many of us type madly amidst the chunks of hair we’ve yanked out of our heads with frustration.

“Throwing away ideas too soon is like opening a package of flower seeds and then throwing them away because they're not pretty."— Arthur VanGundy, Ph.D. (Idea Power, 1992)

Self-discovery sounds very profound, doesn’t it? Yet it’s also a lovely, carefree and often silly dance. Consider for just a moment how children play. They explore all avenues with gusto and if someone advises them of the Right Way, they’ll buy into it for a time, yet then will gleefully rebel and discover their own Right Way. That’s what we need to do as writers. For some authors, this may mean investing ten years to write the next Gone With the Wind. For others, short and snappy might be just the ticket.

“Hi. I'm Troy McClure. You may remember me from such self help tapes as 'Smoke yourself thin' and 'Get some confidence, Stupid!'” --The Simpsons

The key is to Discover Your Path. Ready? Here are some steps to follow:
First… WRITE. (You knew that was coming, right?)

Second… Be Brave. Color outside those lines. Play in your own forbidden zone. Take every risk you can because you can always change it later. So why not leap out of the airplane?

Three… Keep Writing.

"When you aim for perfection, you discover it's a moving target." ~~Geoffrey F. Fisher

The more sentences you carve out of your imagination, the more the pages will reflect your soul. Let yourself be excited not only by the potential of being published or hitting that best-seller list. Thirst for the revelations that will emerge as you jump down that rabbit-hole.

“I can't go back to yesterday - because I was a different person then.” ~~Lewis Carroll

Ready to take some risks? We Are Writers! Go-go-GO!!

--Chiron O'Keefe

Also featured at Pop Culture Divas and Between the Lines.


Juliana said...

I think....that if you were to write a book about writing, I would snatch it up in a heartbeat, even if what it contained were all of your blog posts to date! You are such an inspiration to me!

Anonymous said...

"I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person them." Oh so true. Think I'll print that and paste it near my computer. Some things you know intellectually but there's nothing like experiencing it for yourself and that pretty much sums up my latest life lesson.

Wonderful post as are all your posts - great way to start the week because somehow by the end of the week, with so much noise out there, on Facebook, surrounded by thousands of writers all announcing their latest publication, it's easy to forget it's all about the writing experience.

Chiron said...

Hello Juliana!

What a lovely thing to hear. Thank you so very much! I'm thrilled to know you enjoy these essays. You just made my week!

Huge smiles,

Chiron said...

Hi Kathy!

Boy, I hear you about the 'thousands' of voices out here on the wild wacky web. The drive to succeed is vital, of course, but the motivation to keep going must spring from a basic love of writing, eh?

Every day is a new 'birth' and a new opportunity to explore our soul through our writing. Wow. Just writing that down gives me a rush! Here's to many more life lessons... May they continue to inspire our words!


Ann Victor said...

Another great post Chiron. I'm with you wholeheartedly on the idea that writing - for most of us - is a soul journey. That's why our writing journeys/writing styles are all so different (because we as indiviudals are all so different!)

Love your posts! They speak a truth that resonates with me.

Glynis said...

My writing is the antidepressant tablets I gave up 8 years ago.
Today I am a little stronger than yesterday, I have more courage, I am sharing my work more.
I find new friends, new skills and encouragement from bloggers who give to others. I love visiting them and realising I have something in common with them. I find out more about me through the eyes of others, just by writing.

I enjoyed my visit, thank you.

Miss Mae said...

You are amazing, Chiron. I don't know how you keep coming up with these brilliant posts! I just wonder...who/what inspires you? :)

Linda LaRoque said...

Hi Chiron. Great post as always. You have some much insight to share when we're struggling. Thank you!

Chiron said...

Oh, Ann!

Thanks so much... Your words mean a lot to me. Thanks for dropping by and leaving such a lovely comment!


Chiron said...

Hello Glynis!

There's a darn good reason that so many therapists recommend a personal journal. Writing is the perfect way to get in touch with our soul. It's inspiring to hear how you have embraced the spirit of writing to strengthen yourself, develop more courage and to find a whole community of like-minded folks.

The world of writers is a wonderful place, and it's writers like you that remind us how worthwhile our journey can be...

Thanks for visiting and for sharing your heart.


Chiron said...

Aw, Miss Mae, Thank You!!

What inspires me? First off, my younger years were a challenge and it was the books of Norman Vincent Peale, Dale Carnegie, and Maxwell Maltz that opened my eyes and inspired me to change my life by paying attention to my thoughts, beliefs and attitude in life.

Lately, it's the writers I meet and greet online that keeps my flame burning bright. The books, the blogs, and the general comraderie is so inspirational! Like Glynis, I've found this community to be the best bunch of folks I'd ever be lucky enough to meet. I tested the theory when I went to an RWA conference and discovered that on-line or in 'real life' the authors I meet are generous with time and encouragement, not to mention fun!

Bottom-line, it's authors like YOU, my dear, who keep me inspired! *wink*

When I go searching for ideas, the quotes I find light up my soul and it seems sometimes like the essays just write themselves. It's such a joy!


Cate Masters said...

Loved this post, Chiron! I've forgotten some of these very points along my writing journey and needed reminding.
I intend to someday go back and re-read Alice. Your post reminded me of another great writing-related quote from it:
"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone.
"When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."
I hope to pay mine extra too.

Chiron said...

Oh, Cate!

That's a fabulous quote! It really is vital to our writerly well-being, to remember there's a multitude of reasons to write, eh? :-D

I think deep down, most writers share a common goal--to have their words make a similar impact on others as the stories we cherish have made on us.

Here's to our journey of self-discovery!

Thanks so much for stopping by!