The Dance of Writing

There are times when we can’t move forward with a piece of writing. We may not believe we have the talent, endurance, or concentration to start or continue a certain piece, or we may have attempted the writing several times without success. We may be contemplating giving up.

What may be needed in such cases is to hold still. By this I mean to allow a deeper concentration for the work to emerge. This state can’t be forced, it can only be allowed.

Yet as we move into this stillness necessary for the work, everything that often distracts us will arise. It may be activities that our families, friends, and other people want us to engage in. We may have a belief we need to act in a certain way because we’ve done it in the past and others will expect it of us. Often the distractions are created by our own conditioned behaviors and patterns.  We may feel bored, lacking in energy, or focussing on a perceived limitation. Any number of things may arise to abort the work.

Sitting in silence and noticing what distracts you will help. Eventually with strong intention and allowing you’ll come to the place where instead of a wall, you’ll see an opening in a wall. It may be a new approach to the writing, a deeper calm, or the voice of the work may suddenly become clearer.

Such was the case for me earlier this spring as I was working on a poem I longed to write for the previous nine months. Given my other work and family obligations it seemed I could never find a space to do the writing. Finally, I realized I needed to write this poem to complete a long sequence that was about to be published, so I made a strong intention and began to write it.

The first draft was sketchy and I realized I needed background information. This came in a synchronistic way that evening, from a documentary on TV.

With each draft I felt I was getting closer to the essence of the writing but it wasn’t until I surrendered to the poem that it came fully onto the page.

This was a dance of sorts, combination of effort and release: preparing for the writing by reading over notes, writing, printing out the writing, and letting go. Somehow through this dance the poem arrived in its full shape. And there was a complete naturalness in which the form and the content met each other in a perfect harmony.  As we let go, everything works in a co-operation with us. 

May you find your way easily to the dance of writing this spring.

Many Blessings,