Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Process is Content and Content is Process

I am grateful to my writing coach, Mark David Gerson, author of "Voice of the Muse." One of the first things he told me is that process is content and content is process. As I'm moving forward with my new writing project, I am stepping into a whole new world--a world I don't have any experience with and a world I don't understand. On our recent trip to Carlsbad Caverns, we took a tour of what they called the left-hand tunnel. It is a branch of the cave that is not lit by electricity. All we had were candle-lit lanterns. The path was lined with tape and at certain points, the color of the tape changed, warning of a some sort of danger. Maybe the path steepened, or maybe there was a deep pit if you stepped over the tape. It feels like that. Mark's suggestion to incorporate the process into the writing gives me a foundation to hold me up.

With my memoir, I had hundreds of journals I'd kept since 1978, so details about incidents, events I might have overlooked, were right there. And, it is my life, after all. There was nothing to invent or create. In fact, that isn't allowed in memoir. This time, all I have is a voice asking me to tell their story. And it's a very fickle voice. It doesn't just come when I ask it to. It comes when it damn well feels like coming.

What I am clear about at this point is that this is not just about that voice. It's a part of my own spiritual journey. I thought I'd stepped into the person I've been striving to become at my book launch. But it seems there's more. I am in a process of owning my own power/strength. Writing the memoir helped me reclaim power lost in childhood. Now I need to get comfortable with that energy. What I've learnt is that there is always more. Until we are on our deathbed, there is opportunity for growth, and who knows? Maybe it doesn't stop there either.

So for now, process is content and content is process--my new mantra.



Martha Nichols said...

Love the mantra, Karen, and there are some fascinating insights here about how the work and voice of a writer changes as she grows older or experiences different losses/joys.

Your post is an interesting coincidence, because on Talking Writing right now we're having an interesting discussion about self-editing and processing an the pros and cons of putting "messy," in-process work up on a blog. (http://talkingwriting.blogspot.com) Sorry for plugging another URL here, but I thought you might be interested.

And, as always, your energies inspire me.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I like your mantra! Best wishes with your new project...it sounds like it's going well.

Mystery Writing is Murder
Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen

Joanne said...

Love your mantra. There's always something new to learn, every day, in some way, shape or form. It's a great way to grow, with our minds, and gives great insight for us to bring to the page. Best wishes in the New Year Karen!

Sally said...

love this.... writing seems to twine it's way throughout a spiritual journey..making things along the way clearer... Your comparison to the caverns really hits the mark

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

For me, that inventing and creating is the great part about writing fiction, but I know exactly what you mean when you said, "It comes when it damn well feels like coming:)

Helen Ginger said...

I like your mantra. I also like the idea that growth doesn't stop until the deathbed (and maybe not even then). I feel like I need to remember that, especially on the days when I'm fighting learning something new.

Straight From Hel

Elspeth Antonelli said...

A wise mantra for a wise woman. Writing fiction is a different process than writing non-fiction as you're discovering. I have every confidence you'll be fine. The writing will come when it comes.


Jody Hedlund said...

Hi Karen! I love your new profile picture! Very fitting! And you're so right--we just never stop growing, if we allow ourselves to be teachable!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Deep title for a post!
As I've only come at it from the fiction side, allowing that voice to create and tell its own story is easy for me.

Jen Chandler said...

Congratulations on the new project, Karen. I know you can do it! All my ideas are like that. They come when they want to. They never are there when I'm ready. No. The middle of the night or when I'm at work? Check, there they are? Nothing to do, sitting on the couch? AWOL...all of them. I look forward to hearing more about this as it progresses. Blessings!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love it. I'll have to add it to my favorite mantra, "Fake it 'til you feel it!" :-)

Tamika: said...

I love your mantra and I love your picture singing! You are a lady with a lot of spunk.

This new journey will bring you that much closer unlocking all the great things God has stored up for you!