Who Are You to Write? (On Stroke Correction and Conviction)

by | Sep 25, 2017 | Inspiration, Writing Tips

These are excerpts from my diary in 2001, four years before my first novel The Dreamcloth was published.

Who are you to write 1 | Joanne FedlerWho are you to write 2 | Joanne Fedler

Some years ago, I decided it was time to learn how to swim properly. I mean, I’d had swimming lessons as a kid, but stopped as soon as there was no danger I’d drown if someone threw me into a swimming pool. So I signed up through a community college and over the course of a summer, had some lessons with a lovely swimming coach who taught me ‘stroke correction.’ He showed me how to position my elbows, keep my fingers slightly apart and helpfully suggested I try breathing whenever I feel like it and not every third stroke. After a few lessons with him, the water became a much friendlier place. But one day, he told me that he can only take his students so far.

‘What do you mean?’ I asked (I had paid for a full ten lessons and wanted to be taken all the way).

‘It’s one thing to show a person the correct posture and movement, but I cannot teach the most important thing, which is how your body feels in the water,’ he said. ‘That’s something each person has to find out for herself. It’s a very personal relationship – no-one can teach you how to feel at home in the water.’

 

The 7 Day Writing Challenge

WINGS: Words Inspire, Nourish and Grow the Spirit

 

Likewise, when people come on my writing retreats, I can teach them the craft of writing fascinating characters, and how to use setting to expand the theme, and how to think about emotional pace and point of view. But I cannot teach them to claim the magic – the magic of ‘I can.’ It doesn’t matter how many writing courses you take, how many workshops or retreats you attend – no-one can give this to you. It’s yours to own. I cannot show anyone how to believe that what they have to say matters. That, I’m afraid is an inside job.

As writers, we learn to trust the process. And in the process we learn to trust ourselves. When those two places of trust finally meet, a writer is born and the universe opens to meet her.

Joanne Fedler

Joanne Fedler

Author, writing mentor, retreat leader. I’m an internationally bestselling author of nine books, inspirational speaker and writing mentor. I’ve had books published in just about every genre- fiction, non-fiction, self-help, memoir – by some of the top publishing houses in the world. My books have sold over 650 000 copies and have been translated in a range of languages. Two of my books have been #1 Amazon bestsellers, and at one point the German edition of Secret Mothers’ Business outsold Harry Potter- crazy, right?

Nobody Walks This Earth Alone

Nobody walks this earth alone. TS Eliot wrote, ‘April is the cruellest month,’ but he got that wrong. It is June. Yeesh, it was a bad month. My work threw up one hardcore challenge after the other. I barely had a chance to catch my breath before the next one hit....

People with Passion Interview with Tanya Savva

'I love this part the best,' I said to my husband this morning. I had just finished nominating Tanya Savva's new book, The Adventures of Kenzie-Moo for the NSW Premier Literary Awards. There's something deeply happy-making about helping other people reach their...

My Triumvirate: Meditation, Mantra and Memoir

I’m in the early stages of writing my memoir. At this point, I’m hunting, gathering, pulling things out and looking to see if and how they fit. I’m reliving scenes, moments, memories. Some are painful. Some are lighthearted. I smile as I write about the lighthearted...

6 Mistakes Authors Make When They Start Writing

How to Avoid These Mistakes When You Start Writing I consider the longing to write a noble calling to the voice hidden inside us. Helping others get their stories out is part of what gets me out of bed each day. I know our stories can change the lives of others, which...

Zoom In

Holy shit. I need glasses. Like clockwork, the switch for my blurry vision gene was flicked on the day I turned forty. I’m not sure why I was surprised. I’m the one who, for decades, was prepared for my period every fourth Tuesday at ten o’clock. Some women know the...

8 Reasons to Write Your Story

As an author and writing mentor, my days are spent writing stories and helping others to write theirs. But every writer I’ve ever worked with (myself included) throws themselves down this emotional garbage chute: why should I write my story? Who will care? What does it matter?

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *