Thursday, December 26, 2013

Writing With a Beginner's Mind

This Christmas I spent far too much of my time with scraps of fabric and my sewing machine, constructing flannel gift bags.  I'm not a seamstress.  Not one inch of my ego cares about being considered one.  Thus, I think, I found myself released to enjoy the activity as a child does.  

That's how I once felt about writing.  That's how I feel when I paint, or draw, or sing out loud to the radio.  Because it's not how I define myself, not how I accumulate credit in the part of myself that's keeping track of my so-called life, I can enter it with an open heart.

My yoga teacher says everyone should, each class, enter with a 'beginner's mind."

This is my hope for my writing in the year 2014.  That I can somehow cast off all the expectations I've created for my words, and simply try to approach my work as getting to the heart of what it is I'm needing to express.  When we focus on that bit that's slightly elusive, that shimmering fish just below the surface, that's when we get into the flow.  When we tell the worry-wart on our left shoulder and the inner critic on the right to please pack up their things and depart for another location, that's when we can find our way back into the reason we, as writers, fell in love with the craft in the first place.

So this is what I wish, for myself and all of you out there, trying to create.  Become a beginner each day.  Focus only on getting it right, or a little more right.  Or, as Leonard Cohen puts it:

Forget your perfect offering.
There's a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in."

Sheila Curran is the author of Everyone She Loved, about a woman’s efforts to protect her own family even after her own expiration date has come and gone.  Her first book, Diana Lively is Falling Down, was a romantic comedy Jodi Picoult called warm, funny, inventive and original and Booklist called ‘a gem.’


  1. Lovely post from a lovely girl! XO

  2. Wonderful! Recovering that "beginner's mind" is my hope for this year too! Best of luck to you.

  3. That is one cute kid. Are you sure he's old enough to read that?

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