Writing Practice

Crows--those tricksters--watch over me as a write.

I’m reading more Natalie Goldberg: Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer’s Craft. Thinking about what Goldberg writes reminds me of something Sandy Asher said at Chautauqua last year. If you want to make money as a writer, “Do one thing, do it well, do it over and over again”. Natalie seems to have found her place as a writer early in her career and she’s become an icon by crafting book after book about the writing process.

It seems so simple, what she advocates—writing practice. Basically a writer must put pen to page and freewrite without stopping on a regular basis. Such writing gets the juices flowing and leads to more writing and more and . . . well, you get it. Writing practice makes one a writer.

In her own writing, Goldberg shows us how she sees the world and a writer’s place within it. In every book, she comes up with a few illuminating lines that are worth the cost of the whole book: ” . . . writing is a place where we can meet ourselves deeply, encounter the imprint of something immense running through us. It’s a place to face wild mind head-on and apprehend the design of the universe.”

You gotta love that: encounter the imprint of something immense running through us.

Maybe you’re thinking, but I just write books for kids. Ah, yes! The writer of books for little kiddies. How important is that? You might as well ask yourself how important kids themselves are. A child IS the immensity . . . life loving its own existence so much that it continues, generation after generation after generation.

Today as you write, ask yourself: Am I tapping into the immensity running through me? Am I revealing it in some way to my readers? Am I illuminating something about human existence? Am I facing wild mind head on? Or am I turning my back on it to appeal to the marketplace? Follow Goldberg’s advice and use one of these questions for a freewrite. Write the question at the top of a page, put pen to paper, and write without stopping for ten minutes. Go!


About kimgriswell

I'm an author, an editor, a writing coach, and a workshop leader. I spend my days asking questions and looking (or listening) for answers, and thinking up ideas for new stories to write for my favorite audience: kids! I guess I'm just about as curious as Rufus Leroy Williams III, the intrepid pink hero of my picture book series from Sterling Publishing, is persistent. Did you know that in 5000 B.C. people blamed 'tooth worms' for their cavities? Neither did I until I developed THE HAUNTED OUTHOUSE for the Bathroom Reader's Institute. Turns out, ancient dentists filled the wormholes with metals like gold or silver. Except the Aztecs. They used a mix of iron, water, and belly-button lint. As you'll discover by reading RUFUS GOES TO SCHOOL, RUFUS GOES TO SEA, and RUFUS BLASTS OFF! I believe that reading opens up worlds for young people. Books did that for me, and I hope my books will do the same for today's kids.
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