Yes, you are a writer

anne lamott on the biz of writing

I recently had someone call and ask about my upcoming MOVE WRITE FLOW movement/writing workshop series for women.  After discussing some housekeeping odds and ends, I noted some hesitancy and asked if there was anything else she needed me to explain.  She said, “My concern is that I’m not a good writer.  Matter of fact, I suck at writing, I’m a math person, so that’s what scare me about this workshop, but something pulls me to it.”

Aha!  I knew it.  I knew there was something holding her back.  It reminded me of last summer when I was leading 14 women on a mindfulness writing journey for the Motherhood: seen, heard, moved project.  Since the majority of the workshop was virtual, I was constantly emailing participants back and forth, editing pieces, pushing them to dive deeper with more writing prompts, coaxing them off the edge of giving up on the project, and gloriously receiving a note of “oh my gosh, thank you for pushing me to write. I now see the depth and gifts of this writing practice!”

When I teach writing, it’s not about grammar, flow, hooks, cohesion, climax or resolution.  It’s about noticing.  It’s about waking up to the light and the dark.  It’s about being Alive.  Attuned.  Aware.  The act of writing is like the postures in a yoga class – grounding, reaching, twisting, balancing, aligning – all to finally lead you to a place of presence.  Of partial emptiness to let your body and mind and spirit rest. But also of awareness, to being the witness and observer of your mind, heart, body, breath.  (That’s why yoga postures were practiced – to help the yogi comfortably sit in meditation, to watch herself, for long periods of time.)

The body-based writing process is a felt sense – a way to link your preverbal days where you moved for connection and attunement to learning words and how to attune to yourself, to use your voice, to start the long journey of mothering yourself.  It’s a dance between words and movement, words and movement, words and movement.  The body-based writing process is like that vinyasa flow class, but instead of practicing tree and chair and wheel and savasana, we move some, then you write that shit and beauty down, then we move some more to explore, then we write some more.  You clear your mind and open to possibilities through letting it go on paper.  No grammar police, no strict rules except letting it flow, and, of course, a few juicy prompts.  Every body can do it.  Even you.

anne lamott on write the truth

anne lamott on perfection

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