How do we create works of literature that are imbued with a sense of effortless grace?
Does intending to write gracefully, artfully, cunningly, fluidly, render our ambition flawed from conception?
By seeking grace are we shooing it away from the ends of our quills and back into the ink blotter, home among the reservoir of unexpressed ambitions and unrealized dreams?
Let's take a step back from imagining ourselves writing the next "Paradise Lost". What should we do first?
We read to develop our flair, our je ne sais quoi, our tastes, that we will then explore on our own pages.
We read to bookmark a neat turn of phrase, a beautiful paragraph of prose, a passage of delightful dialogue.
We spring to our notebooks and laptops to emulate the authors who have made so many brilliant, indelible marks upon our hearts and minds.
At its core, writing is renewal and rebirth.
Writing propagates the seeds of plenty and pleasure.
The endless summer days spent curled up in the sun-room with a good comic or three. The cozy winter nights propped up under the covers with a flashlight.
The long fall car rides with the novel in your hand and the window that allowed fleeting landscapes and anonymous souls to speed by for hours as your companions.
The spring picnics where you were safely ensconced amongst the wild-flowers armed with a collection of poetry.
Writing is an attempt to recreate that magic.
To give one child, one person, that same wonderful sense of timelessness and instant nostalgia.
To reach into the future and set your prose into their soul for safekeeping long after you’ve thrown off this mortal coil.
To entrust the whisperings of the Muse into the hands of someone you’ll never meet, never begin to conceptualize.
You know it to be your sacred duty as did the thousands of writers who preceded you.
When you begin to write, you read even more passionately than you did when you were a budding bookworm.
You are now struck by the chasm between your ability and your taste developed over the many years of reading.
So you devour more books.
Books on writing. Books on habits. Books on time management. Books on leadership. Books on meditation.
You read yourself into stagnancy.
What started as humble research and self-improvement has quickly morphed into a cycle of procrastination.
Oh I can’t write the next chapter until I read how these 73 writers from the 19th century spent their mornings.
Oh I can’t finish my screenplay until I read this Hollywood agent's book on crafting the perfect elevator pitch.
We hide behind sheafs of information.
We stop using it as fuel and begin to erect barriers, bricking ourselves into labyrinthine dead-ends of inertia.
Shake yourself free. Loot and pillage the prose of better writers until gradually, you arrive at a style that is your own.
But you must write! Always, always, always.
If you neglect to write and reflect you shall become untethered to your eternal self and immortal mind.
You write because you must.
There is an influenza raging within you that cannot and will not ever be fully tamed.
But the shivers and the aches temporarily subside when you write so you can slip into sweet dreams of nothingness.
You write to explore the confines of your soul.
You write because you understand your purpose in life is not to meander through it unconsciously.
Writing reignites your attention.
Writing expunges your fears, misgivings, and insecurities by exorcising them on the page.
Writing purges us of our rudderless, existential dread for we realize prose is our gift to the world.
Prose is the signpost to our universal soul, guiding us along the beautiful journey to freedom and love.
Prose is the salve for a broken heart.
Prose is the fire stoking the coals of liberty.
Prose suffuses the soul with the knowledge of universality.
You do not write simply for yourself.
You write for the soul that was as lost as you once were.
The soul whose internal compass was handcrafted by the books they buried themselves in to drown out the hyperactivity of the world.
Reach out and touch this soul.
It is yours.
We are beautiful communicators.
Properly expressed, a single moment can propagate the spiritual, emotional, mental, or physical transformation of a stranger whose life is every bit as complex as yours.
Writing is a spiritual contract in which we pay back the gifts and blessings of our past with efforts of our own.
We may never be Joyce, Nabokov, Burgess, Kerouac. Yet we all have something to give back, pass on, pay forward. The intention to share is what renders your prose beautiful.
Writing helps us to discover the magnitude of our humanity.
The vastness of our potential.
The miraculous wonder of our very existence.
If a passage, a line, a word of yours can spark life in the heart of another you have given them the most beautiful gift of all.
If your writing is read by nobody but yourself, smile. You have blessed yourself with love. For is it not an act of love to invest the time in yourself to read and write?
Of course it is.
How sweet you are to take such darling care of yourself.
If you are hesitant to write because you feel you have nothing to say then relax as I let you in on a little secret.
Writing reveals to us what we actually think.
What we hope for most fervently.
What we truly feel.
Who we miss.
Who we love.
It is devilishly hard to keep track of our authenticity when we keep it locked away in our minds to be washed away by the passing concerns of the moment.
When you set aside five minutes for yourself and let free your subconscious to roam the page, you will discover the awesome beauty of creation.
You are not an automaton like you feared.
You are alive. A sculptor. A vibrant, fantastic being.
Think of writing like irrigation for the soul.
You don’t know which seeds will sprout first but you know that you are expanding, living, thriving.
As you become more comfortable with the ritual of writing, you will develop a better command of the language.
Prose that once seemed stilted and trite when you first began to creep out of your shell, now comes pouring from your pen in an explosion of grace.
You may wish to keep your prose to yourself, content in the therapeutic purging and realignment of perspective that it grants you and your psyche.
You may realize you itch to share your soul with the world.
Both journeys are equally valid.
Both journeys cannot be discovered until you begin.
Write not for me, or your family, or friends, or strangers.
Write for yourself you delightful soul.
Do you not wish to discover what mysteries lie underneath the hum of the ego’s autopilot?
What grandeur has been obscured by ignorance?
What healing has been prevented by the seclusion of trauma by refusing to process it?
It is your life, your heart, your incarnation.
Through writing, you will find you are infinite.