This morning I received an email from one of my students. She got a call from her mother while she was driving to work, and the ensuing conversation gave her the perfect ending to one of her essays.
"I just had to share this with you," she said.
I LOVE getting emails like this, just as much as I love hearing from students because they're jazzed about a book they're reading for class and can't put it down.
These emails tell me that my students are growing as writers. Learning that writing is about more than typing on a computer or putting pen to paper. As I wrote last week, part of the writing process happens away from the page. Endings appear to us while we're driving. Whole scenes play out in our minds while we're cooking dinner.
But we have to be open to this kind of inspiration. We have to be willing to believe that when we walk away from our work, an ending will come in its own time. Learning to trust that part of the process (and delight in it) is essential to letting your writing evolve authentically.
LEARNING TO TRUST IN TRUST
A friend and I have been talking about this idea of trust a lot lately, in a slightly different context. She's building her career as a life coach, and I'm finding my way as a writing coach and freelance writer. We get together for wine and brie & crackers, and talk about whether we know what we're doing. It's not the coaching that stumps us, it's figuring out how to let people we know we exist.
Both of us have been reacting against the models we see around us. All those experts who lure you in with free things and then deliver trainings without much substance and blog posts that get a million hits even though they're unreadable. They're all starting to feel like "Get Rich Quick" schemes, and that's not what we're after.
We're looking to connect with people. To build genuine and authentic connections that help all of us grow and learn. We both know that when we relax and let things evolve naturally, that happens more often. We just have to let go of the formulas we see around us.
Last week, my friend suggested that it begins with trust. Being able to say, "I trust that..." and follow it up with whatever outcome we're seeking. We don't need to know how things will unfold, we just need to set our intentions and trust in the outcome.
Can I just tell you? I'm a confident person, and that word "trust" came slow as molasses to me. I could say, "I want." I could say, "My intention is..." But to simply say, "I trust..." I felt a little stuck. And then I realized that I know this to be true about writing already.
I trust that my novel will unfold as long as I write a little bit most days. I trust that when I take my time on a pitch and wait until I have the right pieces of information and inspiration, it will get picked up by a magazine. So why not apply that same core belief to life?
WHAT DO YOU WANT? WHAT DO YOU NEED TO TRUST IN?
This is a writing blog, of course, so I'm going to suggest you try it with your writing goals. Pick one that you absolutely believe in but don't quite know how it's going to come to be--writing that memoir, say, or starting that blog. Pick up your pen and write "I trust..."
Maybe you'll write:
I trust that I will establish a popular food blog that women follow for valuable and life changing information.
I trust that I will write a brilliant memoir about my childhood experience with cancer that will give other children and families a sense of hope.
I trust that I will be a sought-after freelance writer who gets to travel for my work.
Whatever you write, be bold. Use words like brilliant. Trust in your trust and see what happens.
(Get weekly writing tips and inspiration right to your inbox. Sign up for the WritingStrides Newsletter.)