By Guest blogger Laurie Wagner
What if I told you that it took me ten years to understand what I was teaching? It looked like I was teaching people how to write, but what I was actually doing, I realized late in the game, was teaching writers how to peel away the layers of their story and dig for something more true, more authentic and just plain honest. And while all that digging and examining is good for writing, it’s also excellent for living. When you chip away at the façade of your story, and you lay down one true word, and then the next true word you will eventually become stripped down and naked to yourself. And when you see yourself like that, there’s no turning back. You may, as many of my students have done, begin the process of changing your life.
I’m a process person. I’m all about getting words onto a page; messy, ugly, imperfect, glorious words. And to do that you need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
For me, it’s not about what I’m writing or whether I like what I’m writing that’s important. That the pen inks like a river across the page, that I have the courage not to know what the next word is, or the word after that…that I keep going anyway. That’s the spirit, that’s what makes a sound turn into a song. I might only be able to hear bits at first – the merest sound of a refrain – but I’ll swirl it around in my mouth, taste it, roll it on my tongue and Wa La, I start singing. That’s how I make a song. The important part is not that I make a perfect song, but that I have created a channel for song sounds to come through – which means I can make more sounds and more songs.
It’s the same for writing. When I put these words on this page I didn’t know where I was going or what would come next, but if I’ve become a student of anything, it’s learning to not love what’s coming through me and to keep going anyway. That’s just part of the creative process. If I turned back every time I felt lost, or if I judged what I was doing, I wouldn’t make anything. I have to let go of perfection if I want to be a maker of things, because it’s not about the thing that I make, it’s about the making, and I want to be a maker for a long, long time.
Want to be a story maker this summer? Laurie’s 5-week e Course, Telling True Stories starts on June 17th. Laurie is an amazing teacher. Once you start telling the unadorned truth it changes everything. If you want to be a maker of things join Laurie in Telling True Stories – and watch your life change on the page, off the page.
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