When I learned about an online writing course that author Patti Digh was offering called Verb Tribe I was immediately intrigued and eager to learn more. The tag line is “Because writing is a verb: something you do, a daily practice.” A daily practice, huh?
Almost a year ago I committed to joining my friend Kathy and my husband Jeff in writing daily. We each work on our own projects with our own tools at our own time and pace. Every day. WriteNiters meets one night a month and we have dinner at a different restaurant each time; read each other’s work, offer feedback and encouragement, vent, brainstorm, and laugh. And of course drink wine! Both smart moves to develop a writing practice that works: a loving fun support system as well as external accountability.
My first distraction to creating a writing practice: I have struggled with writing on the computer, all my previous creative writing was done by hand. It’s a completely different act and I resisted. But since I can’t read my own handwriting consistently and I didn’t want to have to type it after I’d written it, that felt like writing it twice—aaack—I tap, tap, tap. My purple laptop helps make typing inviting and I have unlimited options for where I write. Where and how do you write dear reader?
Daily for a year I have shown up to the page and written—something. Well, most every day. Even if it was crap, I stuck to my commitment to myself and to my fellow writers. I have compiled 63,982 words on 264 pages. The intention was to practice showing up. Yet, the closer I get to the end of my screenplay the less often I have been showing up. Lots of distractions, higher priorities, and excuses run rampant.
No wonder Verb Tribe’s slogan grabbed me, because ‘writing IS a verb’ and I wasn’t DOING much writing. I participated in Patti Digh’s live webinar launch for her newly revamped website 37Days and afterwards she offered participants a discount to VerbTribe (I even won a virtual doorprize!) When I read the offer it ‘thrummed’ in me. When my gut tells me I’m on the right path or about to move in the ideal direction I feel it throughout my body. Like the surge of a low musical note running through my veins. And it wasn’t my brain but my body that said: I’m in.
My experience of writing daily prompts (for 37 days), copying poems and passages by hand, and taking daily notes about the world around me has been joyfully transformative. As a person and as a person who writes. Patti uses Ruzuku for participants or The Tribe as we call ourselves, to receive daily prompts and to post their writing, thoughts and discoveries, photos, or videos. It was exciting yet daunting. It was taking a leap before an edge was in sight. This space was ours to create and what we have chosen to manifest is an example of love in action. Our Ruzuku space and our live calls are places where we can be fully seen and fully heard. As people and as people who write.
And then there is Patti. Wise. Articulate. Funny. Talented. Real. Inspiring. Balanced. (Maybe that last one would make her laugh but from my vantage point I see she has actualized a balance of doing and being) She lives fully—and she writes. She’s a mom first. And she writes. She’s wife to Mr. Brilliant. And she writes. She has a successful business. And she writes. She has a gift for teaching and communicating. And she writes. Thank you for your 'strong offer' to the world Patti!
During my writing prompts I have faced an abundance of fears and lived to write another day. I have walked to the edge and discovered there is no edge, my emotions have ranged from cursing resistance, “Not that %$#@! picture again!” (I am not a curser) to pools of tears releasing pent up negativity, to fits of giggles along the line of a recent FaceBook poster, ‘I laughed so hard tears ran down my leg.’ I’ve learned to look and then see, that multitasking is a fallacy, that you never know where a prompt may lead you—follow anyway. And ultimately I’ve learned that Patti rocks at the fourteen words or less truth challenge:
“So you want to be a writer? Then sit the hell down and write.” ~Patti Digh
The heart and soul of VerbTribe are the people—kindred souls, wordsmiths who no matter where they are in their writing journey have struggles, sucky days, and then the moment where ‘changing one word’ turns dark into light. My aha moment? How gorgeously alike we all are. We are people practicing life. And we are people practicing writing.
My fellow Tribers: my overflowing gratitude leaves me searching for that one word to convey this extraordiary experience: Namaste.