A few months ago, I mentioned that I would never again use the word spirituality, because it's too difficult to define. For you it's one thing and for me it's another, which is the way it should be. To use it to describe something for everyone seems impossible.
However, I recently came across a really good definition of it, which is that spirituality is our connection with all there is. Wherever that connection comes from, whether it's our senses, our thoughts, our emotions, our intuition, or something we don't yet have a word for, the connection itself is what we can call spirit. So by that definition we are all spiritual when we connect.
Writing is connecting
I couldn't help seeing the parallel to writing, because it's essentially the same thing. Writing is connecting with a source, we have no word for.
We cannot explain it, but when you are in the process, you don't doubt that you are connecting to something bigger than you. You feel that you are a channel for it and allow it to unfold on the paper in front of you.
Writing is the art of letting it happen, because basically you only provide the human framework for it. The rest is taken care of by the source you connect to — whatever that is.
Art is spiritual
I have heard it being said over and over again by many artists through the years, and I am convinced that art is spiritual by nature. It doesn't matter if you write, paint, dance, or play, it's the same process of connecting.
In that sense I cannot help thinking about the fighting philosophy of the Japanese samurais back in the day. They also said, you don't do it, you let it happen.
For anyone seeking the highest level of something, this will eventually be the stage you reach. After years of trying to control your craft, you begin the practice of letting go of it, and at the core of that process you find the art of letting it happen.
Of course, you can only get to it by having practised different patterns like crazy, and one could argue that it's a natural breaking of the pattern that takes place at the highest level of any craft. Simply because you are not supposed to be confined to a specific pattern forever. It has to evolve, and it can only do so by breaking free from itself.
I personally believe that to be true. If you were to let it happen by itself from the beginning, the process would begin with some sort of chaos, and quickly seek out a pattern to hold on to. It's natural for the mind to do so. That's why we see faces in the clouds, for instance.
In other words, even if you wanted to set yourself free from the beginning, you wouldn't be able to, because your entire system requires some sort of pattern to work with before it can break it.
Structure is good
What I'm trying to say is that structure is good, because it gives you the foundation for breaking free and entering the highest level of any craft. Writing is no exception. You need a good structure.
Where I disagree with most schools of writing is when they say that you have to learn through a structure that exits already, like a specific genre or format. You don't. You can create your own pattern and break that just as easily. The only important thing is that you go through the process of building a pattern, mastering it, and breaking it.
Depending on who you are, you should choose one of these approaches, but you can't choose both. You have to make up your mind about, how you connect with your writing spirit — or voice as I like to call it. Do you go through an established pattern, or do you create your own?
To make the choice easier for you, take a look at how you cook a meal. Do you follow a recipe and buy those specific ingredients, or do you look in the fridge and start improvising? Your way of cooking is a good indicator of your approach to writing.
On the basis of that, I want you to do the following: