Find Your Voice


When I decided to open a writing studio, I was led by a woman I’ve never met. I’d stumbled across her online, ordered her book, and devoured it.

Pat Schneider continues to speak to me in the decisions I make, in the way I work with other writers, and as the supportive coach I need when I am feeling like a failure. Her year-end post takes us back to her early days as a writer….

I was a young poet, published in a few small journals, but I didn’t yet have a book of poems, when another poet in my neighborhood who did have a book, suggested we exchange poems and give each other critical suggestions. I was flattered – after all, she was a published poet! We exchanged poems, wrote our comments on the pages, and when I read her comments, I was devastated. (read more here...)

Last year she wrote about fear…

The good news is, we are writers. The good news is, there are always more stories to tell, more songs to sing, more poems to give birth to. The good news is, we each one hold an immeasurable treasure of craft – the language that came down to us from our ancestors: ancient, beautiful, already ours in our unconscious minds. And the good news is, we have all of our lives practiced the language of our own contemporaries – all day every day as we talk in words, think in words, and at night when we dream in words.

The bad news is, if we are doing writing that matters deeply, it is much of the time going to be scary as hell. And every distraction will seem a better option than our art, our writing.

One of my goals is to be less distracted this year. Onward.

One Word

I don’t do resolutions, having found that I abandon them pretty quickly. But I have tried the One Word concept a couple of times. I like having something to focus on/reference as I move through the year.

Two years ago, when I worked hard to encourage teachers to rethink their teaching practice, the word was : Invite

Last year, my word was:
Gather And I did gather–with friends and family, in the studio, in classes, and at work, even creating a magazine where writers gathered to publish. I’m in love with our writing/arts community in downtown Fredericksburg.

The idea behind One Word is to let a word rise to the surface, become the word you need for the year. 2013 has been a year of significant change for me. Writing and creating take up the bulk of my time, and I do much of it alone. The older I get, the more I seek solitude.

And there it is. My word: Solitude

At first I resisted. After all, there can be a negative connotation to solitude (loneliness, detachment). But solitude also brings to mind tranquility, reflection, quiet. And those concepts appeal to me.

So, I’m going to see where this goes….for now.

You can also use the One Word concept in your writing. Try it.