“Anyone who puts pen to paper can have a prose style. In almost ever case, that style will be quiet, sometimes so quiet as to be detectable only by you, the writer.
“In the quiet, you can listen to your sound in various manifestations; then you can start to shape it and develop it. That project can last as long as you keep writing, and it never gets old.” Ben Yagoda
Here’s what Dinty W. Moore says about listening in his brief, but illuminating guide, “The Mindful Writer:”
“Writing is very much about listening.
“First you listen to the world around you.
“Then you listen to your own reactions to that world. Not the easy, cliche’ reactions, but the honest ones, the contradictory ones, the unexpected ones, the reactions that take time to even recognize.
“And then you listen to how you express those reactions. Where is the ‘you’ in what you have seen, said, and thought? Is that ‘you’ so quiet that maybe only you can detect it?
“Maybe it is, but as Yagoda suggests, part of your work is to shape and develop your voice—starting with that quiet whisper.”
With all the noise around us, and all the distractions, it can be hard to hear that “quiet whisper” that’s the seed of something we want or need to say in our own distinctive way. But if we give ourselves time and space to create, and if we listen deeply, ideas and a voice that’s ours alone will emerge.
Quiet listening, abiding in emptiness and seeing what arises. That’s one way we can write dangerously. Let’s listen, learn, and write on.
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