Writing Wild: Forming a Creative Partnership with Nature by Tina Welling
This is one of my favourite quotes from this book . . .
“Few of us have role models in our lives for writing, so naturally, few of us are completely convinced that we should spend time and energy doing it.”
We are never really privy to the writing process. Writing tends to happen behind closed doors. But the process of it is so naturally rewarding.
Tina Welling focuses on nature in the book and how it can inform our writing. She thinks we can all be a little more connected to the natural world. I agree. That’s one of the reasons I love trail running. I never bring headphones along either. It’s just me, my thoughts, and beautiful surroundings.
I took quite a few notes as I read the book. These are a few of my personal highlights.
The Mystery and Mystique of Writing . . .
“Because we don’t understand creative energy – where it comes from, how it rises into consciousness, how it’s accessed or restored – we gather myths around it.”
There are quite a few myths surrounding the act of writing. One of the most damaging is that of the muse. If we always wait for inspiration, we will never write.
“Often, we treat our own creative energy as if it were a fearsome and fascinating wild animal. We cage it in a certain place and time in our life. We find it unpredictable, capable of making sudden leaps or slithering into hiding and other times capable of camouflaging itself in the background altogether. We feel a lack of oneness with our instinctive and creative selves; we are motherless this way, in that we have few role models. Sometimes, we consider our creative selves just plain scary, like Bigfoot or the yeti, and sometimes, like those two mysterious legends, we don’t believe that our creative selves really exist.”
We have a creative life that dwells within us. It is mystical and magic. I’ll admit to that. But it is real and there. It will present itself to us if we acknowledge it and just write.
“We are often seeking a source of authority. We think it’s out there somewhere, when all along it’s within us. Even when we do discover our inner authority, we often judge it by outer standards—and usually find it lacking.”
So write and don’t compare yourself to others. There is value in your work because you are an authority.
On Writing What You Know . . .
I have written characters that are very much me. I have written stories that are loosely based upon my own experiences. But I have also written about characters and situations so far removed from me. Welling explains how writing about what we don’t know is just as valuable, if not more so, than writing what we do know . . .
“We don’t have to know something to write; we write to know something. We write to bring into our consciousness the inner authority that so often remains in the unconscious.”
“Instead of following the old rule about writing what we know, I propose writing about what we want to know. That draws us into following our curiosity. Curiosity is a powerful motivator.”
On Our Senses . . .
Sometimes, our bodies can tell us a lot more than our minds. And that can help inform our writing.
“We all have the same body and the same senses and live on the same planet with brown dirt and blue sky. But each one of us perceives this world through our own body and senses. Each one of us, therefore, produces entirely original stores stemming from each of our own particular lives.
We write to discover these gifts, and we write to offer these gifts to others through our own authentic voices. .
When we are open to imagination, we are, in effect, asking a question. We are creating those new channels of inflowing data with the expression of our curiosity. We come alive when we ask ourselves, ‘What would that feel like? How did that happen? Why did I do this? And we track the answer through our sensory experience and bodies as well as our minds . . . Scientifically, that’s how it works: senses trigger memory held in the body. None of this would have been noticed or captured in my consciousness if I hadn’t written it down.”
A Good Read for Writers
I have a few more quotes I want to share in an up-coming blog post. I enjoyed this read, even though the author hit us over the head with some tree-hugging sentiment. That being said, it’s a good read and Welling offers some nice insight for all of us writers.
My 2014 Reading Log – constantly updated all year-long