We Write

There was a time when I could not put words together in any meaningful way. There was a time when clarity, sanity even, eluded me. I could not fathom my place in the world. I could not meet my own path. I was shell-shocked by traumas and heartbreaks. My very own mind betrayed me.

I have found my way again, thankfully. I have outlived a self-accepted shame which held me back, which kept me locked in inaction and fear. Gratefully and purposefully, I have pushed through and made something I dreamed of real.

I go deeper into life; I go inward to my own heartspace and learn. I go outward; train my eye and ear to the world, take in the hoof beats of thunder, the wild sun rising through the loam of night—

Writing is my calling and passion.  Writing has saved my life.

To write you need comprehension of a language, certain instruments to write with, the will to do the work, the curiosity to investigate what is below the surface–time. Believe you have something meaningful to say and go forth. Your skill will improve and you will perpetuate a habit.

I always begin with an old-fashioned “free-write.” I compose mainly on the computer in a Word document.  This is my method and practice. I do keep journals close to capture fleeting thoughts, but rarely if ever do I write out a poem in long-hand.

Below is a handy collection of wisdom that I often share with students that I have had the privilege to instruct in creative writing workshops. Feel free to utilize its advice but please credit me for thinking and compiling these thoughts.


Writers write.  Writers read.

Fall in love with words.
Vision—it takes courage to see.
Face the blank page or screen.

Don’t wait for inspiration.

Practice and play. Make mistakes.
Observe. Pay attention to life.
Experiment with language.
Write to express, but even more–write to see and make others see.

See, hear, taste, touch, smell—discover and know.

Bring the reader into the world of your poem with concrete images.
Dream journal –peer into other worlds, seek out unconscious connections.
Write your responses and impressions of poems you like.
Free write to music. Free write to static.

Write “in your head” then write it down.
Fight for freedom on the page.
Keep a journal.
Cultivate the desire to write.
Get out of bed to write if an idea strikes you.
Write what you need to write.
Say what you need to say.

Listen for your voice. Befriend it and trust it. 
Uncover the processes of your psyche.
Aim for tension in the words.
Write from the depths of your experience—the writing itself will deepen experience.
Free write and then control the words with form.
Strive for a precision of language.
Nurture your discipline.

Do not punish yourself.

Give it time.



© 2012 Clare L. Martin