March 3, 2015.
Pat Schneider, author, writes: “Solitude is an absolute necessity-the single most crucial necessity-for the writer. Only in the deepest solitude is it possible to achieve the utter surrender required for creative work. Writing at its deepest is a spiritual discipline, where the unconscious and the conscious mind merge, where what we currently call ‘left brain” and ‘right brain’ somehow leap the boundary, and dream becomes indistinguishable from rational thought…
“‘Solitude,’ however, does not always mean being physically alone. Thousands of times I have seen it in a writing workshop where we write together in silence. A kind of solitude happens there, where each of us works silently and protects the other’s privacy. In that setting, miracles happen: The writer writes clear, clean narrative; surprising juxtapositions; metaphoric images; insights that the writer does not perceive until it is read aloud and named by listeners.” (—Pat Schneider, Writing Alone and With Others)
For me, the “requirements” are different.
In order to write, first, I need to clarify something. The right-brain left-brain theory has been debunked. No one has been able to show , medically, neuro-scientifically, that one side of the brain is more creative or analytical than the other. Of course, people have made much $$$, a cottage industry, based on this hypothesis.
Schneider is writing about writing as a kind of creative miracle that requires certain conditions in order to be good or strong. I know – don’t we all – that waiting for the very right moment, setting up the desk perfectly, using the best paper, selecting the right font, the correct lamp, the most delightful background, such as the ocean or a sunset, do not make writing happen. They are lovely accessories, and they can help us to tune out the everyday routine, but they are unnecessary.
What I need in order to write is: The intention to write…. every day. The act of sitting down at keyboard, desk, etc. Putting ink to paper, whether on the computer or the back of an envelope. Doing it!
If you practice the piano every day and you have a nugget of talent and joy in the activity, you will eventually become a pretty good pianist.
If you write every day, and if you are willing and able to look critically at your writing, cut it and paste it, throw away paragraphs, revise, perfect it, you may become a strong writer.
I need perseverance to write. I decide to write. I decide to write today. I decide each day whether to continue writing. My experience tells me that not writing leaves me a little empty inside, or perhaps too full of disorganized ideas, to live calmly. These days, I have space, quiet, and time to write. When I didn’t have these, I wrote. I do not need much to write. I need to – simply? – write.