"How many times have you noticed that it's the little quiet moments in the midst of life that seem to give the rest extra-special meaning?" Fred Rogers
“Be Deep and Simple” is one of Fred Roger’s precepts. All his precepts can be applied to our writing, either in the narrative or through our process of writing. So, for several blogs forward I will focus on Fred Roger's precepts and how they intersect with other spiritual practices and our writing.
To have any of these positive qualities manifest in our life, one thing is for certain: we have to slow down and be present. We can’t rush through our life or writing. We can’t crowd our life or page. Too many obligations or too many commitments mean none of them get the attention they deserve. We must continue to practice being attentive in our precious moments and encounters as well as to our writing.
And, we can all benefit from slowing down.
In writing, yes, write the first draft fast and furious. After that, be deep and simple. Deep in writing means to give the reader a full, rich story. Give us details and descriptions. But keep it simple in its depth. Use one good analogy or metaphor to describe the object or mood of a scene. Be consistent (this keeps it simple). Have a consistent thread of metaphors and analogies. If you use an analogy of the ocean, for example, stick with water, waves and anything oceanic for the rest of that scene, or chapter.
Go slow. Be with a scene or sentence for as long as it takes. Be with your writing in a deep and meaningful way.
Set aside time to write.
To Be Deep also means to be vulnerable and uncomfortable. Get beyond the more obvious surface mentions. A simple way to go deep is to change “tells” to “shows.” Look for the tells that don’t reveal much about the scene or message.
“She meant the world to me (or to him).” (a tell)
This above line could be a scene’s worth of narrative. Could be shown throughout the book, depending on the subject and theme. Your reader should know this without you telling them.
“We speak with more than our mouths. We listen with more than our ears.” Fred Rogers
Don’t rush to publication either. Don’t ever rush, if possible. You are sure to miss something meaningful when you do. Practice giving every moment the slowed-down attention it wants.
Everything and everyone craves attention.
In Fred Roger’s words: "You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are."
MEET UPS! Come meet up with me and other writers! Free offerings:
A virtual Sunday Afternoon Writing Circle from December 15th through till Sunday January 18th 2 till 4:00. Write from wherever you are. Email me to sign up and for details.
Free Winter Writing Retreat, January 24th at Badger Hollow, home of Suzan and Richard’s. 10 till 4:00. Email me to register. This takes the shape of the many free writing retreats I have offered over the years to my writers. These follow in the footsteps of William Stafford who offered his home and land to writers.
I will be writing at the General Store in Spring Green Wisconsin, Monday December 16th from 8:30 am till 2:00!! Join me. Come, write and I will happily offer some free consultations on your writing (in between mastering a few great sentences myself). I will be working on my novel that should be ready to send out by the end of February to some lucky publisher or agent. Great food too!
Finally, I will be writing at Sjolinds (in Mount Horeb) on Friday December 27th from 9 till 1:00. Join me for some writing, great hot chocolate and petite consultations.
"As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has- or ever will have- something inside that is unique to all time. It's our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression." Fred Rogers
"If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person." Fred Rogers
Fred’s 10 Precepts --
Be Deep and Simple.
Be Kind to Strangers (even the stranger in yourself)
Make a Joyful Noise
Tell the Truth
Connect with Other People Every Way You Can
Love Your Neighbors
Find the Light in the Darkness
Always See the Ver Best in Other People
Accept the Changing Seasons
Share what You’ve Learned (All your Life).