Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii, my private writer’s retreat.
Water covers about three-quarters of our planet’s surface.
Most of us find ourselves drawn to the seashore, if not the sea itself. The sea, the ocean, any body of water, represents possibilities. It might also represent our subconscious mind.
On an island, you can find land’s end in any direction.
In Hawaii, when you travel toward the sea, the direction is “makai.” When you travel further inland, to higher ground, the direction is “mauka.” Toward the sea, toward the mountains, is the rough translation. Today we’re going makai to write at the beach. Nothing better to clear the mind than the rhythmic rush of water lapping at the shore, a sound like breathing; like mother’s heartbeat. Set your beach chair in the sand in the brindled shade of one of the old kiawe trees and allow yourself to write. I like to free write with pen and paper; in an inexpensive black-and-white-speckled composition book. Free writing is like free diving for pearls. See how long you can write without coming up for air.
Don’t worry if you stray from your outline or your perceived plot, let the characters lead you. Don’t be afraid to waste words or to write poorly, just write to discover. Set your timer and begin. If you find a blank page staring at you, ask your character a question, in writing. Begin a sentence with “What if” and answer it in a myriad of ways.
Much of what a writer writes never makes it into the final manuscript. But the story is deeper for it. Free writing, writing to discover, enriches both character and setting. Don’t interrupt your writing time to look up historical facts or check a word usage, just make a note and keep wading into deeper water. When you get over your head, that’s where you’ll discover the real story. Don’t be afraid. Writing is swimming and free-writing is diving deep to explore the unseen.
What will you find beneath the surface today?