Tuesday, 13 September 2011

A Gift for Writing


There’s a wonderful book called 29 Gifts. Have you come across it? It’s written by a young American woman called Cami Walker who was diagnosed with MS a month after her wedding. In pain and despair, and barely able to leave her flat, she was given the following ‘recipe’ by an African medicine woman: Give 29 gifts in 29 days. And if you miss a day, go back to the beginning. The gifts included a tissue for a friend in tears; giving away a bouquet of flowers she’d bought for herself, stem by stem, to strangers; giving a shell she’d found on the beach to a little girl. The point of all this was that in giving a gift each day, her energy turned from focusing on pain and difficulty towards the power to make a difference.

What is this to do with writing, I hear you ask?

Writing works energetically from the inside out. It’s expressive, outpouring, giving. Maybe it’s time to give your inner writer a gift. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, suggests Artist’s Dates each week to fill the well of inspiration. But the smallest gift will be appreciated by our hard-working inner writer. Here are some suggestions:

• The gift of half an hour a day to write in
• A comfortable, back-supporting chair
• Some healthy writerly snacks
• Membership of a writing group or online community
• Time each day to walk and imagine and ponder
• A really good book to read.
• The choice to write differently – a haiku or a short story or a novel
• A trip to the bookshop, or the zoo, or the seaside.

What gift would your writer most appreciate this week?

9 comments:

Helen Black said...

I think my writer would really appreciate the freezer man to actually come and fix it today like he said he would yesterday!!!!

But you're right about the other things. If you're going to write seriously then your inner writer has to be challenged and worked hard. But it also needs to be respected and nutured.
HB x

Derek said...

I think my writer would appreciate a better letter from a publisher than the one I received today - it was polite and timely (around the 12 week window), but still a 'no'.

I think the gift my characters / books would like is to see me spending more time on my craft!

The Time Sculptor said...

29 Gifts sounds such an inspirational book; I think I'll go and buy it for the times when I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself.

The gift I'd give my inner writer would be the ability to type as fast as I am thinking without finding lots of typos to go back and correct whenever I speed up!
Jane Gray

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Helen, I empathise - I've had no fewer than 15 workman visits since moving into my flat 3 months ago...
Anonymous, your comment is a fairly accurate representation of the inside of my head at the moment.
Derek, sorry to hear about the rejection. Your writer needs a huge, vast ACCEPTANCE.
Jane, that's a good one. I also type very fast but very inaccurately.
Susiex

Lynn said...

I haven't yet read 29 Gifts but want to, and soon! Giving is necessary to keep our spirits lifted. My writing spirit needs the gift of attention so I will take time and act on its request.

Susie Nott-Bower said...

It's a good book, Lynn. And attention is the best gift anyone can give, I reckon!
Susiex

Derek said...

Thanks Susie, for the sake of completion, I thought I'd add that I rang another publisher today (get back on that horse, young man!) having waited four months with no response. It turned out that they'd never received my ms in the first place. Thank you, Royal Mail!

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Argh, Derek - even the mail is rejecting you! Fingers firmly crossed for this one.
Susiex

Derek said...

Susie, that was my best laugh of the day!