26 September 2011

Frome the Heart

One thing I always encourage my students to do is to write from the heart.  You see, there are ways that they’re expected to write–in certain forms and styles, with a great number of expectations from their teachers.  And that way of writing is a valid form of expression that’s particularly effective across a wide range of circumstances.  But it allows for little heart and spirit.  It allows for little creativity.  It keeps people focused on topics and certain ideas, which is helpful in sharing pure information, but it doesn’t allow for much humanity to come through.

So I encourage my students to allow their hearts and souls to be expressed in much of their writing.  I ask them to explore their ideas, to trust their ideas, to present their ideas with love and passion.  Their writing should be a reflection of who they are as people, not a reflection of what they are as students, yet most students learn writing as a performance art, and they write for grades rather than satisfaction or fulfillment.

I’m not always successful in my efforts.  Many students pay me no mind, and they continue to write in their same styles, never making the effort to spread their wings and soar into uncharted territories.  But that’s okay, I guess–that usually means that they simply haven’t become ready to try something new and different, to trust themselves and their expression.

In what ways do you stick to the tried and true, rather than heeding the voice inside, the voice that tells you that there’s much more to what you’re doing than the straightforward, non-creative expectations of others?  Do you ever strive to create things that aren’t the best you can do, that don’t reflect your heart and soul and spirit, just because it’s easier that way?  Or perhaps no one ever encouraged you to allow your feelings to enter your work, to strive to make your creations a reflection of your unique, one-of-a-kind self. . . .

I know that I don’t always allow myself to put my heart and soul and spirit into everything I create.  Nowadays, at least I don’t create for other people–but I also don’t create as a simple form of expression.  If I can get one student, though, to learn to write as an expression of his or her inner self, then perhaps I’ll have helped to bring something very important into the world, even if I’m not the creator of the expression myself.

Be brave enough to live creatively.  The creative
is the place where no one else has ever been.

Alan Alda

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