Our Life is Our Writing Teacher

Without connecting to our truth, whatever we write has no meaning and no genuine connection with the reader. Our life is our writing teacher. Our life is the source of our true eloquence and unique voice as writers. Our life is our writing textbook.

Writing is soul work, not a mechanical process reducible to “how to’s.” It’s like making love. Knowing the mechanics of what bit goes where will not make one a better lover. The same is true of writing. It is the soul connection that is the source of our unique writer’s voice, and that is what our readers/listeners respond to. (It’s what our lover responds to as well!)

Writing is at essence an act of courage. Sometimes dark and difficult stories emerge from pen or keyboard. People are scared of pain and we live in a society that marginalizes it, but embracing our own difficult stories and attending to others’ is the source of our power and our humanity – both as writers and as people. Such stories are part of the human experience and they are universal.

We live in a wounded civilization and we inhabit a wounded planet. In the West, we are sheltered from a lot of that, but it doesn’t serve us as writers or as people to perpetuate that pattern. A large part of the writer’s role in our society is to shed light into the dark places. Sometimes we do that with humour; sometimes we do that with pathos. But whatever our means of sharing what’s true, we need to know our inner landscape to write with any real heart or authority.

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