Introspection, Thought and Nascent Creations…

Recently I’ve been helping my high school teenager with the story they are writing. Now that school has ended and summer vacation has begun they are spending more time writing on their work.

It is wonderful to watch them pour their energy in passion into the project.

Doing so revives wistful memories of when I began writing nearly two decades ago.

Recalling my first attempts at writing a novel, brings to mind not simply the excitement and angst at setting out to accomplish such a great feat.

I doubt we would have succeeded had most of us who have accomplished this goal understood the full nature of our undertaking and what it would and has required.

And so it has been with care and caution in choosing my words and responses that have and sought to nurture my child’s passion when they have sought my guidance and consultation.

While the experience of having earned my MFA in Creative Writing and then witness my work gained publication has certainly contributed to my responses, much of what I have drawn on lies in the knowledge I gained through participation in writing groups.

Sadly the knowledge that most influences me in speaking with my child about writing arises from the critiques gained from fellow writers whose comments, though often correct, were offered, not so much in support of what I was trying to accomplish, but what I felt and have since come to realize was envy.

How many times have you been in a writing group where the writer/participants who have the most to say offer up the least amount of their writing for discussion, if they bring anything at all?

All to often these writers carry a storehouse of information on writing regarding the rules and regulations of flashbacks within a flashback, showing vs. telling, compression of scenes into summary and where the plot of the story seems to be failing and needs bolstering.

But what do they know of the task and toil of writing, meeting the blank screen and/ or page on which we pull from our hears and souls words we hope to convey meaning of what we feel, the scenes of a story that play out themselves innumerable times throughout the day and night.

Compelled to empty our heads of what we experience onto the page, we struggle to grasp the movements of not only our story, but the gist of what it is that compels us to tell it, share it with the world.

This is the nature and struggle of writing. And anyone who has done this for the least amount of time, loses all envy and holds nothing but compassion and a wish to assist any other who has and is attempting to do the same.

It is with full knowledge of my experience at this art of mine, this compulsion to create artful displays consisting of words, stories and novels that paint pictures that move readers, but first and foremost my soul, that I offer up words of wisdom with care and grace of someone who has yet to approach the altar of accomplishment, never mind that of mastery.

“My job and your goal in this writing group is to help keep ourselves and each other writing.”

Clive Matson, poet, masterful creative writing teacher, and author of Let the Crazy Child Write.

I hold this mantra when discussion with my child their writing. More often than not, I ask questions, ones that stimulate thought and provoke introspection.

The greatest gift any writer can receive during the early stages of a work is permission and fuel to contemplate the possibilities of what their words can accomplish and convey, the many directions into which their plot can travel, taking them the writer on an extraordinary journey of discovery and growth.

That my child trusts me with their nascent creation I am humbled.

Let me not obstruct, but instead support and encourage.

In this I am healed and made anew.

Consider this when offering critique.

View the writer who seeks your counsel as your child, both the one you parent and the one who lives within you.

~ by Anjuelle Floyd on June 16, 2010.

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