Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Writing As Practice

In the vases are crabapple blossoms (my mom always cut these branches and filled the house with them and I want to grow up and be just like her) and tulips. Soon there will be lilacs--my favorite! I can't wait. When the lilacs are in bloom is also when you can go to the woods to look for morel mushrooms! Delicious in butter and pretty in your hat (when you collect them, that is).

On to the real point of this post:

I am a member of a group of women that meet once a month and write together Natalie Goldberg style. We pick words and give ourselves 20 minutes to write and then read out aloud whatever crap we have written. I like that it takes away the preciousness of sitting down to write. The listeners tell what resonated with them. There is no pressure, no need to produce anything, it is like getting together to play tennis with less exercise, more wine and no competition.

At this point, I don't do it to gain skill, although at one point I did it because writing was one of the last things I ever did for myself. I needed the writing time for building confidence. Now I lead the full on writing life. And our writing practice meeting are an opportunity for me to write socially. (The practice room allows that too.) (More later this week on why writing socially works.) And I still love these get-togethers. It is terribly reassuring to have somebody writing next to you and know that we all put our pants on one foot at a time. Writers forget that when they look at finished (read fully dressed) products.

But it is one example of writing practice. Doing the writing for it’s own sake. Just because it is enjoyable. Just because your curious what will end up on the page. There is no means to an end, and I rarely look back to see what I got. I date the page and it remains in the notebook along with old grocery lists, inane notes about taxes and the things my son has to remember to bring to school. Last fall I ditched a bunch of these notebooks. Pages and pages of scribbling. C'est la vie.

Writing practice, just like any other kind of practice does help you get better, but that is not the reason you do it. You do it because it is what you do.