wandering the driftway, looking for story

Writing is a discipline, they tell me. So I sit before my computer and I lay down words, a whole clatter of words, beautiful and careful and ultimately meaning nothing. So much for discipline.

But inspiration won't fall into your lap, they tell me. So I sit before my computer and stamp words onto white, a barrage of determined words, all clever and bright - and ultimately without heart. So much for doing the work regardless.

"It's not writer's block," she assured her daughter. "There's no such thing. It's only the space between you and story. Call that story in to you, or else go out and get it."

"Go where?" Fenna asked. She rubbed a finger across her empty page as if she could erase its blankness.

"Well now," said her mother. "Into a city for mystery, or for the cold snap of fright. Into the hills for sorrow and a troubled kind of love. Onto the sea for adventure. Or over the river for something older. Only you know where you want to go, to find the kind of tale you want to tell."

"I'm not sure," Fenna said. "I can hear something singing, but it's just outside of understanding."

"That's the lure of story," her mother told her with the calm wisdom of the oldtimer, the long-published. "Some, they come like a great blowing, and they fill you before you know it. And then all you can do is write and write until the story has eased away through the page. Others, they want to be chased. Your grandfather walked half the world, tracking poetry. He had a wild, mad muse." 

(from Driftways)

Writing is an art, I tell you. A personal process. Find how it works best for you and do that. Even if it means you are wayward, and write in pieces at all the wrong times, and only finish one and half poems in your entire life. Even if it means you walk through forests with your hands out, catching inspiration as it falls - leaf, shadow, nut, breeze - from the trees. Don't listen to the experts, they are not you, sitting at your own computer. Be a perpetual amateur, learning, growing, wishing, always alive to your process and your love.

Artwork by Nadia Turner.


  1. It's a singing... just outside of understanding... What a lovely description!

  2. Oh so beautiful. I feel it's easiest to write when I can calm myself and walk in nature, and listen to that song you speak of.

  3. Thank you for your beautiful words of encouragement.

  4. I love to write ...
    I think the hard part is learning to not care if it's ever read. Sometimes it's hard to let pieces of your soul go ... just for them to simply "go." But I guess in the end that's the beauty of writing...the release.

  5. "Be a perpetual amateur, learning, growing, wishing, always alive to your process and your love."

    Love this!

  6. I agree you have to find a way that works for you - everyone has a different way of finding words and setting them down. Sometimes finding the right words is a struggle but when they come from the heart they seem to write themselves.

  7. love the bit from Driftways
    and wonderful advice
    though at the moment i am not heading out for this reason
    you have inspired me to walk the forest before it is too dark to do so