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

by Sep 25, 2017Inspiration, 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?

How’s That Cynicism Working for You?

I went to law school. I got not one, but two law degrees – one at Yale. Yippee for me, right? Actually, my entire life since then has been a recovery from legal thinking. Not that I don’t value logic, clarity, causation and an understanding of what it means to think...

Bad Art Is Fabulous in So Many Ways

‘Our spiritualities will be found not in what we profess, but in where our energies are most invested most hours of most days.' James Hollis Bad art is fabulous in so many ways. Instead of letting poor writing or bad movies depress you, you can use them to inspire...

For the Brave Ones

When I was asked to curate a series of blog posts for 16 days of activism against gender violence, I quickly discovered I was unprepared. I had to approach these stories like a child on the shoreline of a cold, dark ocean. I was scared to rush into the immensity of...

8 Reasons to Write

If you've been putting off writing, this one is for you. We spend a lot of time fending off the 'it's-narcissistic' saboteur, the 'I-suck-at-grammar' bogeyman and the 'who-will-give-a-damn?' golem. But seriously folks, as the Buddha said, 'the problem is, you think...

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...

Getting Lost in Our Own Bullsh*t – the Excuses We Use to Not Write

Honestly I’ve heard them all. Hell, I’ve used them all. I’ve had ten books published, have six or seven partially-written manuscripts saved in three different computers and dozens of journals, have mentored hundreds of writers, and even published a few through Joanne...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.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