Today was a red letter day for me as far as writing was concerned. I finished a chapter that has had me stumped for two weeks and when I typed the last words I felt estatic because it was really, really good! What was so interesting about the writing process is that it went in an entirely different direction than I had originally planned.
At first I wanted the chapter to follow the same bullets as Sister Beck's talk but I couldn't force my muse into the unnatural pretzel shape I would have had to in order to package it that cute-ly (probably not a word but you know what I mean.) Then I was going to string together unrelated topics with a thin thread of logic that was making me hate myself as a writer- a very bad thing.
Finally I let my writing lead me. This meant long delays as I searched for new information, rather than manipulating my copy into the information I had already gathered but as I let my mind follow its natural path, I found new corners I hadn't considered and ended up full circle- even using a quote I had found two years before and simply adored but thought I'd never be able to use again. It was exhilarating.
I consider myself a VERY immature writer with a lot to learn. Perhaps that is because I am a VERY immature person with a lot to learn, but this is something I hope I have learned sufficiently to never forget. When a writer writes, he or she must be true to his own voice. When we try to cut corners or package ideas, we cheat ourselves and the reader. I'm not saying we don't need to edit or adjust our tone to meet our audience but in so doing we must still be true to our inner voice.
A few days ago I received an awesome Christmas CD from my cousin Peter Asplund. His entire young family sings and raps and he does this cool remix thing- it is a joy to listen to. Anyway, in his accompanied letter he mentioned his young daughter is very talented in many ways and has perfect pitch. Apparently they have been encouraging her to sing so she left the following note on her parents' door-- I've lost the original so please accept my paraphrasing until I find it amid the ocean of papers on my desk- but it went something like this: "I know you and Dad are encouraging me to sing. Music is not my inner star, art is. So please stop it. I must follow my inner star."
It is so refreshing to hear of a child so assured of her "inner star" and it is a little embarassing that it took me so long to remember to find mine and follow it.