And what, you ask, does writing teach us?
First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is gift and a privilege, not a right. We must earn life once it has been awarded us. Life asks for rewards back because it has favored us with animation.
So while our art cannot, as we wish it could, save us from wars, privation, envy, greed, old age, or death, it can revitalize us amidst it all.
— Ray Bradbury, The October Country
On August 1st, 2014 AD hundreds of creators around the world joined superpowers in a 30 Day Writing Challenge, with the purpose of writing ourselves alive every damn day, right after our most immediate morning routine and before going about our daily work and distractions.
The point: To explore ourselves. To get to know ourselves. To understand ourselves. To rewrite and retell our stories. To reignite our passion. To change our life from the inside out, day after day. To practice creativity as a modus operandi. To honour our gifts. To prioritize our passion. To evolve from survival to aliveness. To help us LIVE just as we’ve always wanted: truly, deeply, madly, now.
Like any new truth, habit, situation or person that enters our life, a renewed or more intensified love affair with Writing, in this case, also follows these three stages of assimilation: Initial Contact / Acquaintance, Conflict, Resolution or if our life were a story (it is!) — Introduction, Plot and Conclusion, or, on a more philosophical level, according to the dialectic model for argumentation: Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis.
It takes time for our old self to recognize, fight and finally embrace the new. It takes time and commitment, and the daily nurturing our passion, to slowly become who we really are.
As a recap of the first 10 days of our 30-Day Challenge, which could account for the Thesis, or the Introduction or our initial Contact with the emerging or forgotten or neglected or abandoned Writer in us, let me tell you why you should fall in love with writing again or for the first time, whoever you are, wherever you’re at, whether you call yourself a “writer” or a scribbler or a lover of words or just a homo writing sapiens who wants to master the Art of Communication.
In order to tell you this, I must first claim that Writing is a Greater Art (with all due respect to other arts of which I am also a faithful servant). By “Greater” I don’t mean more relevant, or special, or worthy. I mean more vast, more all-encompassing, expansive, boundless, broader…
3 Reasons Writing Is a Greater Art:
Número 1 — Out of all the Fine Arts, writing is the one that most exercises the Imagination.
Writing is a one-dimensional art that creates a multi-dimensional reality in the mind of the reader. Other arts, such as Visual (painting, photography), Audio (music, spoken word), or a combination of both — Audio-Visual (film, theatre, performance), are naturally able to show more and thus have more control over the communication process and the spectator / receiver’s mind…
But the Art of Writing alone doesn’t have any multidimensional ability other than how evocative it can become through words. So writing can be both — a blessing and a curse — for the imagination. It can be the most boring, senseless, one-dimensional word blur and in this, less powerful than other arts, or it can be the most inciting, seducing, liberating and unleashing agent for the imagination.
Imagination is a field of unlimited possibility and in being so quiet and faceless, writing can be the loudest and most visible mirror for the reader’s imagination to grow her wildest wings and fly as far and as powerful as possible. Great writing begins as the Door to Something and then grows into the Key to Everything.
This is why learning how to Dance with the Reader and Show More & Tell Less through words is essential for a writer’s mastery.
Número 2 — Writing creates a solid bridge between the right and the left brain.
The left brain is responsible for our analytic thought, logic and language (dear words…) — while the right brain houses our creativity, imagination, insight and intuition. By using language as a gateway to imagination, writing needs and demands both. Creative writing begins in the left brain but unless followed by the right brain, it is no more than empty information.
And here again, we see the importance of honoring the right brain through our writing, by making art & love to the reader through Showing More and Telling Less (or just enough of both).
The best writing / reading orgasms are achieved when both sides of the brain, left and right, are deeply engaged in this dance with each other. Writing has the power to create and sustain the love-making between our two hemispheres, as well as the dance between the Artist, the Art and the Reader.
Número 3 — Writing is the most powerful way to articulate the story of your life and set it into motion.
Everything that has ever run through your mind, from the smallest to the greatest statement you’ll ever think, feel or communicate, is based on an underlying story, that is, a certain belief about the world and our lives.
These subconscious stories running our lives are arbitrary, random and often self-destructive and untrue. But they are hard to change, because they were formulated and adopted in our spongy state of being, our childhood — when we were too young to “under-stand,” long before we had the intellectual depth and awareness to accept or refuse any stories that did not belong to our original verison.
In thinking, and consequently, speaking and doing, we are always telling a story, giving a statement, and as such, we are formulating, creating the world, thought by thought and word by word. Every human being is a storyteller by nature.
Writing goes a step further. In placing these stories on paper (or screen), we create a reflection in which we can see and change the course of our deeper stories, the ones imprinted in our subconscious, quietly running our lives. Whether it’s through free flow journaling, morning pages, a novel, poetry, a memoir, short story, essays, whatever form or shape your story demands to be expressed through, by writing it, you are telling it.
Everything you write is the Story of You, the Story of the World and the Story of Life as seen through YOUR eyes.
Therefore, the greatest alchemy in this lifetime is being able to transform our Life’s Story, being able to rewrite ourselves alive in our original, unabridged and unlimited, truest version of Us. In this process, the Art of Writing is our number one tool for personal transformation.
As William H. Gass put it,
And this is why, dear kids, writing is a greater (if not the greatest) art — the most encompassing, vastest, liberating form of expression.
And this is why, dear grandchildren, whatever else you choose to do in this lifetime, you should write every damn day, until you can truly say you have become the “master of your fate and captain of your soul.” (Invictus style)
And this is why, dear you and dear me, we should never ever ever give up on this art, or on the greater Art of Being alive, out of which all our passions spring — to help us see and make and be the wonder.
P.S. 1 — Watch my video on one of the Writer’s Top Enemies — Showing vs. Telling — and use the 5 tips attached to help you Show More & Tell Less.
P.S. 2 — Sign up for my Writing Mailing List, for regularly unexpected, FREE writing fuel, creative ammunition, lifesavers and mischief.