Japanese painters can create clever and lovely images with just a few brush strokes. It seems effortless, but much work and time has come before they can paint with ease.
And so it is with writers; sweat must be put in to learn the craft, whether it’s poetry or novels or essays. Eventually the craft is mastered, and yet, still some writers suffer as if they were beginners.
Why? It’s our minds, the greatest enemy of the writer.
When an experienced writer sits down to begin his work, his insecurities and neuroses often sit down with him. Here is what he or she might tell himself:
1. I must write beautiful sentences.
We write to communicate with others, if your predilection is to write beautiful sentences, they will come. If this is not your predilection, you will have another. Maybe it is humor, maybe it is wise observations, maybe it is clarity. All writers have their own particular gifts. Write enough without self-consciousness, and you will discover yours.
2. I must write with a voice.
If you have practiced enough, you have a voice. A voice is natural and can’t be forced any more than you can force a personality.
3. I must write to impress others so I can be famous, rich, respected or sleep with very attractive women or men.
Do not bring this expectation into the writing. Bring your heart, bring your desire to express, bring your playfulness, your passion. Write because you want to co-create with the Divine or simply because it gives you pleasure. Bring lightness to your writing and never treat it as a means to an end.
You may have other “musts” and the only way to be aware of them is to tune into what thoughts your mind churns as you write. The less cluttered your thought patterns, the better the writing.