Our Approach to Writing

I often hear parents say to their children: “Use your words.” Often, this is when a child is expressing frustration, and her parent is reminding the child that words are available to express oneself, often resulting in having one’s needs met.

The writing process is about using your words to express yourself. Sometimes, this can be a frustrating process. Okay…the process is often frustrating, let’s be real. First, we tend to believe in writing myths that stymie us from the beginning. Such as “other people know what to write immediately”; “what would my mother say if she knew I was writing this, let alone thinking it”; “other people write effortlessly”; “no one else has to revise and rewrite like I do”; “I don’t know where to begin.” There are more, but I think this is enough to get us started.

Often we say, “I’m just going to write what I think”; however, our thoughts and our words are not the same thing. Words are symbols of our thoughts which means that words represent our thoughts. We choose our symbols/our words with care, thinking about to whom we are writing and why (This is the rhetoric part of my professional degree) so that we chose the symbols that will communicate our ideas to them in useful and believable ways (This is the composition part of my degree).

At this retreat, you will learn ways to access your words, use them, and represent your thoughts in ways that have meaning for others. You will reflect on your writing: Why do I write the way I do? Why do I think I have writer’s block? What happens when that happens? How can I be a productive writer? Even more importantly, what does being a productive writer mean for me? During our opening and closing sessions of our writing day, I will give you prompts, share stories of other writers, and give you tips that will help you reflect on your writing and strengthen your realization that you are in a writing process. These resources will help you to identify your writing expectations that can lead to mental blocks in your writing. You will be better able, then, to identify, respect and trust your own writing process and create the environment you need for writing.

You will realize that everyone, and I mean everyone, writes first drafts, second drafts, and so on, to discover what it is that you want to say to others and in what way. Then, in a state of engagement in and acceptance of your process, you will…write. The retreat will give you the time, space, and structure to write in the way you may have always wanted to write. This, too, is a process that is not linear but circular, always going deeper in your journey of tapping into your writing self. You will have opportunities to receive feedback. You will inhabit a beautiful and natural space in the time span set aside for you and your writing. This space and time plus you is the perfect equation in which to create your ways of knowing for yourself.

by Vi Dutcher