(For Part One, Click Here)
Step 7: If you never have, read your words out loud. Mine, they sometimes read like poetry or the lyrics of a song with no hook. The hills and valleys of my voice fill the spaces no metaphor could and breathe a life into the prose that was always intended but elusive nonetheless. Be it even for an audience of one, speak them and hear the harmony the bridge the minor cord sadness and the flow of ease over that one part when you just let yourself go. Close your eyes and recite it from memory because it’s marks like hieroglyphics on the walls of you, caverns of hurt and victory meander your way through to the light of right now. Be in your own moment as you push from the diaphragm out of the esophagus and enunciate your every emotion with perfect illustrative elocution.
Step 8: Gift. Share your work. Gift it once and rewrap it and give it again and again until you’ve run out of names on your list. And then give it to strangers. And their friends. And their aunt who had a really hard time that once and never talks about it. And their brother who sometimes drinks too much but has a good heart. And your neighbor who talks too much first thing in the morning because her husband has ignored her all night. Read the thank you cards and listen for the dimensions in your writing. That one line that spoke right to their situation. That part that brought a tear to their eye. Even the ones who didn’t get it and returned it unopened, maybe that just wasn’t their piece. Send them another. Offer yourself through your work because it is the greatest most intimate gift you could ever give.
Step 9: Fail. Allow yourself to be rejected, refused and redirected but never rewritten. Let the things that escape you lead you to your next step. The one that was designed just for a talent such as yours. A voice such as yours. A writer of the words whose succession only you would choose. Believe in the tremendous power of failure. Thank you for letting me know it was not my time. This was not the job best suited to expand me. This was not the magazine book website that would have supported my vision. Something greater lies beyond every failure. Great opportunity resides in a room unlatched by faith. Have the chutzpah to try the lock.
Step 10: Dare. You never written about sex? Try it. You never written fiction? Try it. You’ve never written anything? Try it. What harm is there in daring? If it calls to you, go. Hearts are deaf to fruitless musings. In all things lie lessons. Do not hold yourself hostage to the you you were yesterday. Dare to become. Dare to grow. Sometimes it’s as simple as that. Defy some gravity. Take the leap. Let it go. Ask for more. Accept no less. Sever yourself from that which hurts you. Give yourself fully to that which heals you. Say yes. Or say no. Whatever it is, dare to do it. And…if you haven’t the courage to dare quite yet. Do so in your writing. Give your characters the wings you wish to grow. Create and cultivate the characters as pieces of you. Learn from them. Allow them access to great adventures and hard fought triumphs. And when you’ve learned as much as you could, give them back to yourself and then…then dare to integrate as your whole self.
The writer surely splits herself into a million pieces for the sake of characters. She must be them fully to make them believable. She does this by allowing them to access the human experience through her own being. That is to say, she is them and they are her; one could never be so complete without the other. And, if she’s lucky they dwell within her forever. Or, until the story is done.