I love this quote by Virginia Woolf: "Every secret of a writer's soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works..."
I think Virginia Woolf intended for writers to understand that their work reflects who they are, where they have been, and what they will become.
Through an understanding of ourselves and becoming comfortable in our own skins, the process of writing becomes more spontaneous and uninhibited. When we comprehend our unique writing gifts, we are aided in creating great stories. We become more confident the more we accept and know ourselves.
When we tune into our needs and desires, we are more apt to free ourselves to use material from our own lives and the lives of those who enrich us. Our characters become richer and more complex as we open ourselves up to all that we know about the human condition.
So how does a writer begin? Start by looking at what motivates you as a writer. What keeps you coming back for more?
Some writers are driven by passion, others by fear, and even more are driven by both. What we wish for is also often what we fear. This plays out at an unconscious level for people all the time.
Screenwriters, for example, wish to sell their scripts, dream of seeing their work on the big screen, but may fear the success that comes with it. It is only natural to fear what we know little about. We are creatures of habit. Change is never easy no matter how attractive the outcome.
The danger that many writers face is becoming over-attached to the outcome while being less in tune with why they chose to write in the first place.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- When did you first discover that you wanted to be a writer?
- Where were you?
- What experience led you to make the decision to write?
If writers become aware that they are dreaming solely of fame and fortune when reflecting on the question "why do I write," than it may be time to search deeper within themselves to learn if writing is indeed what they are meant to do.
When we answer these questions and become more tuned into our needs, we can begin to reflect on what sustains and feeds our writer's soul.
Every writer has his or her own unique way of keeping the writing fuels burning. For some, it is simply a matter of maintaining a writing schedule and habitually sticking with it like brushing their teeth or eating a meal at a specific time. For others, it is important to be in the company of writers, whether it's a few writer friends, a group or a seminar.
There is no secret to maintaining your momentum as a writer Whatever works for you will be the best choice.
The key to writing well is a deeper understanding of ourselves, what motivates us and what fuels our writing. When you find yourself struggling with the written word, reflect on what it means to be a writer and you will be back in the zone in no time.
Copyright 2003, Lisa Collazo LCSW
About The Author
I am a licensed clinical social worker and personal and professional coach who specializes in working with what Julia Cameron describes as "blocked creatives" in her book The Artist's Way. I help writers discover their authentic voice and
challenge them to take risks with their writing.