First of all I have to say I feel so much sadness and horror and utter helplessness at what happened in Connecticut. I just can’t believe it.
Please, keep writing. Please keep providing wonder and hope and love for children and teens. My heart feels broken.
“One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.
After Michelangelo died, someone found in his studio a piece of paper on which he had written a note to his apprentice, in the handwriting of his old age: ‘Draw, Antonio, draw, Antonio, draw and do not waste time'”.
Annie Dillard from The Writing Life.
Today’s exercise is twofold:
1. Write down what you are holding back. What are you saving for later? What are you keeping to yourself? Where can you push yourself more? Where do you approach but then pull back? Look at your manuscript. Be honest. Highlight places where you could give more. Then freewrite about this topic. What are you giving? What could you give? Why aren’t you giving it? What is stopping you?
2. Find a way to share something. Share a part of you. Read a manuscript for a friend. Tell a writing partner something you’ve learned at a conference or in a book that might help them with something they are struggling with. Scream with joy when another writer succeeds. Find a way to support and love and give to other writers. The more you give, the more you receive.
And pray for those sweet little children and their families.