Writing As Sculpture 2

In Writing as Sculpture – 1, I told my story of working with an author client on her manuscript. While attempting to reassure her that a motley stack of hundreds of revised, edited and polished pages under her fingers was already a book, I had a meaningful learning from her dismay.

I discovered pouring out of me, in my own coaching language not just a metaphor, but a physical expression, a living example of the writing process, as I nudged and cajoled Erica through wordsmithing, paragraph creation and page compilation. I was visited upon by an ever-deepening impression of a sculptor’s work.

There are correlations in our process, and each of them brought a reassurance to the belabored writer. As there are genres and sub-genres, so sculptors may define themselves by the material they work with, the skills they employ, or by their ‘style’.

We are all writers, although some use author, just as I’ve seen carvers use sculptor. But we are all, collectively, the creatives, the makers, the crafters, aren’t we?

Tell someone you are a writer and the first question is always–“What do you write?” (Followed quickly by, “Have you written anything I’d know?”) Similarly, sculptors are asked what they “do” and questioned further to declare their material, their mentor or their defining element.

Perhaps a writer’s genre corresponds figuratively to a sculptor’s material. We writers roll out fiction, memoir, young adult, poetry and if the asker’s interest holds, we might offer novel, fantasy, travel, medical or spiritual to further clarify ourselves. The sculptor will mention wood, clay, stone, bronze, or marble and offer statuary stylings, period of art history or technique of a learned master for their asker.

But for all of us, The Makers, it is only about the material. Ask what you will of us, we are builders who listen to the whisperings of visuals wrought in word, line and color. We are fashioners who politely respond to the pull and tug, push and nudge of our material. We shape rather than force.

The material of our art is as significant for the writer as the sculptor and this seems self-evident because we are all crafting something from what is ostensibly, nothing, when we begin. There is a breath-holding moment where we know the first word could launch the chapter, or kill the idea. Every writer knows that it can always be edited, but none of us really want to have to, after all.

To get to the making though, is not about directing ourselves but rather, holding open the opportunity to hear the message.  Writing is as sculpture in its requirement for a deep listening, the possession of a plaintive ear to receive the murmur of way finding that inspires the first splash of ink to the page, the initial gouge to the wood. Whether to our desk or our workbench, we then go sustained by the inner longing to hear the murmur again.

in Part 3 I’ll take a look at the tools of The Makers.


image from www.davidesterly.com “inprogress1”.

Writer. Book coach. Collaborator.

I help exceptional coaches and thought leaders go from idea to book. Author of Loving Large, available April 2020, pre order now on Amazon.

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