Write Now Newsletter – September 2005

“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the only thing you have to offer.”

– Barbara Kingsolver

Hi Writers:

I dread rereading my notebooks. But when I do, I remember why it’s so important.

As I write, my mind tells my writing stinks. It chatters away spewing negative banter. Meanwhile, I keep my hand moving, pen flying, purple ink splashing patterns between blue lines. There’s a huge gap between what my head thinks and what my hand has written.

If I don’t reread my notebooks, I’ll never close this gap. I’ll never remember writing about dogs in the rain in Taos or how I referred to my father as “the skeleton in the front bedroom.” Those lines will fester and die.

When I reread my notebooks, I see my passions. It used annoy me when I read yet another writing practice about dogs. I’d think, Can’t you find something more interesting? But now I see my fascination with my canine companions as a strength. I pay attention to the things I love; see them through a different set of eyes. What better thing to set down on paper than something I adore and can see clearly? I let myself go there, tapping into my true heart.

Before I reread, I wait a little while – until the blood has dried. Then I haul a few notebooks to a coffeehouse, read them as if they were a great novel, something a complete stranger had written. I highlight passages and use little sticky flags or make notes at the top of the page. I jot down phrases that catch me. After awhile, I’ve fallen back in love with writing, my writing.

In one notebook I’ll find the beginning of a story. Another will be hiding a poem. A third notebook might be filled with great ideas I just need to flesh out. The practice of writing keeps me honest about my true loves, the things that stir my mind, the unique way I see the world.

Have you reread your notebooks lately? You might surprise yourself. Until you try, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Nita (mem-ries. . . mistywatercolor mem-ries)Sweeney
(c)2005 by Nita Sweeney