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Naomi Rose : The Important Role of Silence in Writing

The Important Role of Silence in Writing

(a book or anything else you care about)

By Naomi Rose

If you have ever been on a silent retreat, or been in nature for a period of time in silence, you already know from experience how incredibly fertile that bed of silence can be. As the usual chatter fades, the things that pull us away from our in-the-moment inner experience (things to do, places to go, errands to run, emails to send, worries to keep circulating, etc.) show their true colors as mind-distractions and perhaps ~ addictions, and just don't seem as compelling as they had before. Something in us begins to relax, then; to stop always being on alert, ready for the next action, the next item on the to-do list, the next thought/opinion/decision. We drop into ourselves, and into the moment. We are that most essential of things: here.

It is in being here that we are available to revelation ~ whether that revelation is of the epic, prophetic kind, or simply a deeply felt, spacious awareness of the beauty of life because we are here to know and feel and experience it. And it is when we are most deeply here ~ present, spacious, appreciative, and gratefully willing to encounter the blessings that arise (both from within us, and outside us as what is within us is available to meet what is outside us) ~ that deep writing is possible.

I know for myself that in a single workday, I can sit at the computer and accomplish a whole roster of things that I can tick off my to-do list, and sometimes still have room to do more. Yet none of that is usually done with inner silence. There is most often an accompanying sound track that is commenting on what I am doing, or going ahead to the next thing to do, or fretting about what I haven't yet done but should. No wonder there can be a sense of putative accomplishment, but energetic depletion at the end of such a day. And if I try to fit a writing session into such a day, most often what I write is simply another thing that I can tick off my to-do list as having accomplished.

For me, doing deep writing is a sacred act, and that includes the need to set it apart from my usual actions and ways of seeing life. It is the setting it apart from the prosaic, the getting-things-done aspect of ordinary life, that reminds me of what is potential within me. It is the silence that allows the words ~ the music, if you will ~ to arise.

There is that place in me ~ is it in you, too? ~ that is convinced that I need to keep doing every moment in order to ensure not only my own personal survival but that the entire universe keeps on going. Of course, the latter is not true at all; the universe's cosmic order does not depend on my doing everything, only what is mine to do. But when the absence of inner silence grows louder and greater, I fall into a place that on the surface looks like I should get some kind of prestigious medal of recognition from our culture, for I am doing up a storm. And yet, in that storm of doing, where is my true being? Subsumed under all that activity and noise. And what would a cultural medal of recognition for having devised and fulfilled my to-do lists then get me? Just more noise, more stress, more time on the treadmill.

The cultivation of inner silence from time to time is medicine not only for our writing, but also for our entire being. It is in silence that what is real has room to show itself, whether that "showing" is in images, in sounds, in sensations, in energies, or in nothing. There is a "nothing" that is so full that it is the pregnant potentiality from which all manifestation, all "somethings," come. We can orient ourselves in that direction, towards the silence, the inner quiet, the place where "nothing" is "happening" ~ until something reveals itself to us, and we know we must and want to follow it. That is the beginning of writing from the deeper Self. First we need to be present to the deeper Self. Then, writing from it is a following of what we receive; an encounter with something true that we do not have to invent or make up, original though it may be. It is a dance of what we don't know with what we do; it is a harmonious song sung by our finite self and our Divine Self. We can't make the words happen, but we can always make ourselves available to that quiet place where what divinely wants to grow and tell itself to us can grow and tell itself to us. We can make ourselves available to become "pregnant" with what is there for us, uniquely, and to carry that seed through to term, until it is complete.

And once we have done that ~ once we have given ourselves to that inception of truth, beauty, whatever other deep and redemptive qualities call us to them ~ we know that we are not "producers" or "manufacturers," but lovers. We have loved our creation into being, even if along the way there was doubt, despair, frustration, the equivalent of morning sickness, procrastination, and all the other ways we humans have of denying our greatness. Once the creation exists (it is a book! it is a paper! it is a painting! it is a song! it is a relationship with a human being whose every gesture, yawn, and aspiration matters to us!), it lives not only in us but also for us. It lives to give us back the joy and pleasure we put into it. It is our child, in a sense, and we have no wish to abandon it to the world, but to bring it into the world like the treasure it is.

And what happens when the world receives it? I don't mean in terms of, "Did you get on Oprah?" I mean in terms of what happens inside the individual people who receive it. My conviction is that they receive it in the same spirit in which you wrote it. If you wrote it with silence as your base, then your book takes your readers into that same universal place, and there they can touch into their own deep nature. Who would not be grateful for that?

Not everyone has the opportunity to go on a silent retreat, or even to spend a stretch of time in nature. But what we do always have with us is our own deep nature. I bless you that if you are writing, or wish to write ~ a book or a shorter work ~ that you can do so from within the sacred silence of your own deep nature. Whether this means setting aside a morning to write in which you do nothing else ~ or clearing the papers off your desk or table, and lighting a candle accompanied by a conscious intention or prayer ~ or even taking a flower essence for writing, such as Rose Press now has available ~ setting aside the world's concerns for a time, so that you can hear the silence within you and allow it to give you something wonderful to follow in words written down, is a gift you can give not only to your writing project, and not only to your eventual readers, but to your own soul.

And this silent, sacred space and time will help to heal the world. Just your doing it. Even before your book hits the stands.

This is a way you help the universe keep on going: by being there for it. And then allowing its gifts to take root in you as writing. •

Copyright 2010 by Naomi Rose. All rights reserved.

Naomi RoseNaomi Rose, Book Developer and Writing Coach, has successfully used her "Writing from the Deeper Self" approach to help people with an inner-directed focus write the books of their hearts. More »

11/27/10