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Write to your white hot center

In my writing group last night, somebody talked about how as writers we often write around what we really want to say.

Think of your idea, story, or poem as a bright yellow sunflower or maybe a snow-white lily. Around this flower flits a multi-colored butterfly. He dances, darts, and flutters around the flower until he finally hones in and lands.

Writing can be like that. Sometimes, it takes me a while to warm up to what I want to say and that’s okay. Writing is a process of discovery. The key is in the editing after the initial dance of pen and paper. In a poem, I may cut the first stanza or even first half of the poem. In my memoir, the current chapter one is not the chapter one I first wrote.

But I needed these beginning words to open the door to places I may never have gone otherwise. To what new places has your writing brought you?

Exercise: Write about something you are utterly passionate about. Set a timer for 20 to 30 minutes and write using the five senses and as many details as possible. Then read through your work with an eye to where the real story begins. Now, do another timed write starting from that point. Continue to do this until you feel you’ve gone as deep as you can. The next day, see if you can go even deeper.

Did you find something unexpected?

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