When I was nine, I was given a Hallmark Diary. Pink Plaid. Locked with a small brass key. I was sure it was secure BUT then no one was actually interested in my nine year old ramblings (right?)
Fast forward to 14. I am a freshman in Honors English: My new teacher, a new teacher himself, walked in looking fresh from the film set of Dead Poet’s Society and scripted his name with theatrical flourish in yellow chalk on a “green” blackboard….”John Calvin Dotson.”
We were then directed to put away all books, take out a piece of paper, pick up a pen and write…
“What?” said a fellow classmate in a shocked tone.
“Write everything you can, as quickly as you can, that passes through you. No editing. Go. Five minutes.” (No further instructions were given; no one asked a w follow up question.)
And so we tucked in over paper and with pen and wrote as though our lives depended upon it. Time became timeless and five minutes passed quickly. What had we accomplished? We had emptied our heads onto paper, foregoing editing as we wrote, and could focus better for the next forty minutes of class; but something even more important was initiated that day.
Five days a week, all year long, we started class with this writing ritual referred to as a “braindump.” We learned (or at least I did) how to align what we were “thinking” with our writing; and that has for me made all the difference.
My natural voice/tone/style has been a part of how I write what I write– for the last 33 years. So writing is “easy” for me. Editing on the other hand can take MANY HOURS.
At age 14, I was introduced to the concept: Writing and Editing are two distinct processes.
It is important to remember this when starting new writing projects. I propose the following as a best process to get to good content as quickly as one can that one can Write first. Write fast. Write when inspired. Let it marinate a “bit.” THEN move into editing and consider using an Editor other than yourself as well. Choose someone who will be diplomatically candid and help make your writing “better” without imposing their voice on you.
I like to think that as a group facilitator and teacher of writing/communication/self-expression, I teach first how to acknowledge the voice within seeking to express itself and then how to refine and edit the final message to be Authentic and Impactful and Effective. And this approach applies to business and marketing writing as well as personal writing.
When Writing is Hollow it is experienced that way. When Writing is Passionate and Enthusiastic it is experienced as such. As much as there is a barrier between you reading this blog post and me writing, I HOPE you feel the conviction I feel for this topic and theme.
It was Spring of 2010. I was sitting in a Sunday service at Unity of Bellevue and the minister then, John MacLean was in his WONDERFUL theatrical style (for he had a TV Entertainment Past!) discussing the difference between Religion and Spirituality. I can’t recall what he said about Religion at all. I do though remember very distinctly what he offered about Spirituality: “Spirituality Provokes”
Suddenly, I silently gasped and had the thought, “Yes, and Authentic Writing Provokes. That is it!” This is always the mantra that drives the way I mentor and coach and guide writers and business clients to write and market themselves was born.
Yes, I sound like a broken record BUT I sing a song I love to sing over and over.
Two years of Tuesdays with the Writers Support Group for the Reticent Blogger has given birth to other events that keep me engaged creatively, professionally and are the highlights of my week.
And introducing the newest weekly offering:
Whether you desire to write and speak well for your business or yourself, I invite you to write and speak with a sense of Authenticity and Enthusiasm. Discovering your growing edges is where the work begins. The Critic would have you delay publishing something that isn’t quite finished or critique what you have published. The Editor would help you refine the message and encourage you to publish your thoughts. These “voices” in us have their roles but prior to getting their feedback, we must let our “Free Expression” loose.
If you aren’t comfortable with full self-expression, avoid writing for yourself or secretly wish you enjoyed writing, I “gently” challenge you to take on learning how to be collaborative with Your True Voice, Your Editor and Your Critic. Great Writing comes of this “dream team” when on the “same page.”
Helping people give their creativity and self-expression “roots and wings” is happily what I also call my work and dharma.
May the Confident Writer and Speaker in You be Released in 2012, Year of the Water Dragon!
Deborah Drake – Authentic Writing Provokes, Writing Mentor/Marketing Coach and Self-Publishing Enthusiast