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Write—and then Write Some More

335. Write—and then Write Some More

Years ago I was in therapy and I shared with this therapist a set of poems I had written after a traumatic event in my life. They were sparse. They were strong. They were clear. This therapist asked if I would bring him a set so that he could share them with a friend of his who taught writing at Columbia University. I said that he could share the set he held, because I had the original set at home. Several weeks later, he handed them back to me and I said, “What did she think?” He said, “She said they were interesting, but they are not poetry.”

It stopped me for a while—writing. After all she was teaching at Columbia. And then because I have never been able to not write, I started up again. And I have never stopped. I have led groups for fifteen years on writing down their stories—in prose, or in poetry—I have told them “Write!” And never will I be judgmental about their writing. I tell the group as we give feedback on something someone has read that they wrote, “The person who writes decides whether or not to make changes. Your writing is yours. We’ll give you feedback if there is something we didn’t understand, something is not clear. Then you decide whether to change it or whether to keep it exactly as you have it. It is your writing.”

No judgment. Just write—and then write some more!

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