Kate Gale is a force of nature. Co-founder and managing editor of Red Hen Press, editor of the Los Angeles Review and president of the American Composers Forum, Los Angeles, she is a teacher, poet, novelist and playwright. She is also a board member of A Room of Her Own Foundation, which sponsors the weeklong biannual women writers’ retreat in New Mexico from which I just returned. She offered several workshops during the retreat, but one in particular I found particularly compelling and want to share with you here.
What she said, in essence, is this: Play, Trust, Write.
We writers take things so seriously. We sit down to write and expect a finished product. When it doesn’t seem to come, we get anxious, even distraught. Kate says just relax. Play! Approach your daily writing with lightness, with no expectation, with playfulness. (There will always be time for the hard work of revision later.)
Trust! That something amazing will emerge. That eventually, through journaling or just writing what comes, something important will emerge.
If you write something important, it will be at the intersection of imagination and intellect. Get rid of the “writing is not important” chatter in your head. Trust that what you are creating is worthwhile and worthy.
And, Kate said, be willing to have a relationship with silence. I spend at least an hour every morning with my journal, in silent testimony, in silent prayer, in silent entreaty to the universe to bring insight, words, extraordinary thought to the paper in front of me. Sometimes it eludes me; often it brings the grace of creativity and concrete movement: words – amazing, inspiring, powerful words.
In every writing project, Kate said, ask yourself, “What is it that I want to say?” Then find the most unusual, extraordinary and motivational way to say it you can imagine.
Because imagination coupled with intellect is the writer’s only true gift, a gift that can inform and inspire. So go on, inform, inspire – write!