Hand any four-year-old a fist full of crayons, and it is a very, very few who don't get busy with them, drawing, coloring, scribbling. I have not stopped scribbling. —Chris Raschka
More To Learn
I remember my husband’s confused reaction when I told him that I wanted to get a Master’s degree in writing. “Why would you do that?” he asked. “You’re already published. You don’t need that. You could teach in a writing program.” He was absolutely right...but I still wanted to go back to school because I knew that I still had more to learn.
Back To The Beginning
I felt a little creatively stale, and I wanted to reconnect with a feeling of shoshin. This is the Zen Buddhist word for “beginner’s mind”, and reflects an attitude of openness and investigation. An attitude of shoshin means that we are willing to put aside our preconceptions about a subject and learn, even when we are working at an advanced level.
I have seen many writers struggle with the idea of referring to themselves as writers or, even harder, artists until they’ve reached some kind of external marker (usually publication). I’ve seen writers struggle to regain their footing after initial success—they fear it was a “fluke” and that they’ll never write anything good again. I’ve seen writers get intimidated by failure or rejection. I’ve been there—I’ve been to all of those places. When I face that fear, I have a mantra: There’s more where that came from.
There is always more where that came from.
The trick is to approach each day and each page with that attitude of shoshin. We are just scribblers; we can delete, cross out, or erase anything that doesn’t please us. Often, we have to write something that doesn’t work in order to fully imagine what will. You can’t always control the outcome, but you can control the input. Did you write today? Did you write this week? If not, then I urge you to write something soon. Just scribble. Play. Pretend you’re a beginner and approach the work with curiosity. You’ll never find the answers unless you’re willing to ask the questions.