Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Chi Writing

Little Girl Running on Beachby Sarah S. 

When I woke up Cuplxz was standing over me. You ok? he asked. Yeah.  My head was throbbing. Uuuuuuhhhhhh my head. What happened? I asked. Remember? Giant. Oh yeah I remembered the sword coming at me for what felt like forever. Where are we? My place Cuplxz said.

The preceding paragraph was written by my ten year old son who is busy writing a novel. As you can see, he doesn’t trouble himself with minor details like punctuation, spelling or formatting of any kind. It’s a joy to watch his enthusiasm. He writes when he feels the urge, which is often because he doesn’t sweat the small stuff or the big stuff for that matter. He doesn’t second guess himself or waste time rewriting. He just writes, as natural to him as breathing. It’s enviable and instructive. 

Several years ago I tried to improve my running or, let's be honest, very fast walking. Chi Running was the technique du jour and so I read Danny Dreyer's book by the same name. Not to oversimplify, but in the interest of time I’ll distill the premise as follows: relearn how to run with the natural effortlessness, joy and pure abandon of a child while silencing the voice of the adult overlord who is eternally watching, judging, correcting. In other words, stop editing yourself and just let it flow. In writing terms, it’s Chi Writing.

Eventually, of course, we all must gut our precious manuscripts, cull them with the cold precision of a razors edge. Long before that, however, perhaps the most productive thing we can do as writers is untether ourselves from our self imposed editorial restraints and let our hands run free, bounding over the page like a child's bantam feet racing across the sand. 

2 comments:

Jenny said...

I love this. It's amazing how we adults can make things so effortful. Thank goodness we have kids around to remind us that life and writing are supposed to be fun!

Shirley Drew said...

Such a great post, Sarah! And you're right--we often make things harder than they have to be. Here's to being free as a child again!

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