Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Practice of Writing

I live a life that’s saturated in words.

At work, a large part of what I do is to write. I write articles, posts for the company blog, posts for the employee blog, presentations, plans, speeches.

Words.

Outside of work, I have this blog, occasional guests posts on other blogs, a regularly scheduled feature over at Christian Manifesto, scheduled posts for The High Calling Blogs, the co-editing of TweetSpeak Poetry’s jams on Twitter, and comments on others’ blogs.

Words.

And then there’s the “novel project” or I should say “novel projects” because there are approximately three going on in my head – interior conversations, scenes, plots and somehow I’m keeping them separate. I hope.

Lots of words.

And I haven’t even started on the reading of words.

I love all of this. Every bit.

What all this writing of words has forced me to do is be disciplined. I have deadlines at work and self-imposed deadlines for the writing outside of work.

One particular piece of writing has also allowed me to see what I do in a different way. The editing of the “Twitter poems” at TweetSpeak Poetry is among the most difficult things I’ve done. You assemble 400 or 500 tweets, sometimes more, depending upon the number of participants. You then arrange them by where they “touch” each other – where one tweeted line is a response or amplification or transition from another. Participants add their lines in different ways – some jump right in with an almost stream of consciousness/word association approach and others take time to ponder and shape. And sometimes participants do both.

So the words and lines have to be teased and coaxed and studied and understood and associated. Sometimes the fit is automatically perfect; sometimes the fit has to be “edited.” And sometimes I have to add lines and words to bring some coherence to a poem.

It’s a fascinating exercise. It is also a kind of practice with words, ideas and themes.

In The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life, Julia Cameron says that writing rewards practice – and I would add that practice rewards writing. “”Writing rewards attention,” she says. “Writing…remains a gateway to greater mystery, a way to touch something greater than ourself. Writing is an act of cherishing. It is an act of love.”

That’s it, exactly.


Over at the High Calling Blogs, Laura Boggess is leading a discussion of Cameron’s The Right to Write. Take a look and see what others are saying, commenting and posting. Last week’s discussion was about making it, honesty and vulnerability. This week‘s discussion is about footwork, practice and containment.

Related:

Julia Found Words for Me by L.L. Barkat.

Savoring Life by Nancy Kourmoulis.

Cassandra Frear’s Like Water on a Stone.

Sweeping by Marilyn.

12 comments:

Cassandra Frear said...

All that practice shows up in your writing! That's why I'm a fan.

M.L. Gallagher said...

And your words are always so welcome in my world!

Thanks for your words. You inspire me to keep finding my words.

Louise

n. davis rosback said...

words
in time
words
that rhyme
words
that sound
a little chime
words
that play
words
that stay
around
you
found
you
writing
words

Linda said...

You do such an excellent job Glynn - in everything you write.
Practice is something I need to cultivate in my life. I tend to want the dream to come true without all the work. Words are magical to me, but there is getting away from the fact that to make them work well I need to be disciplined and willing to do the hard stuff.
Have a blessed Sunday Glynn.

Maureen said...

Your words also reveal something more: a curiosity. One could not be so "practiced" and "rewarded" with words expressed in so many different forms without that.

S. Etole said...

Your words are filled with grace ... well fashioned grace.

Kathleen Overby said...

"Writing is an act of cherishing. It is an act of love.” To extrapolate that..... when you take our little phrases, words and use them to make a pretty poem, it feels like a rippling act of cherishing and an act of love. Thx.

mom2six said...

You are so gifted to be able to take all those words and make them work so well in so many different arenas.

shrinkingthecamel.com said...

Glynn - I am constantly amazed at your prolific ability to work with words - it seems to just flow out of you. I agree with Cameron's observation that writing is ultimately an act of love -- strange at first to think of it that way, but the words somehow reveal so much - about ourselves, our world, our friends - in the process of us committing to it.

Now, I am going to give you a nudge in hopes that you write a "Boss" piece for us in the HCB Group Writing project!

Laura said...

I am amazed at how you sail so gracefully through this sea of words. But then, practice does make for expert seamanship...

L.L. Barkat said...

I am glad to have met you over words. And sometimes in them too. :)

Sandra Heska King said...

"Writing is an act of cherishing. It is an act of love.”

I love that. And I love that you cherish and love so much.