A Writing Mentorship Post
As many of you know, I’m a mentor for the Team PYP new writers’ program, a one-year small groups initiative to assist writers in skillbuilding and seeking publication. Every so often, I’ll post a few thoughts for my group.
Since we’ve just completed the first week of the year, this is a perspective for making a beginning, with soundtrack from a guy whose hard work has paid off.
Thoughts from Kevin Olusola’s performance:
1. Follow that theme, and see how many ways there are to express it. Use whatever tools do it best.
2. In the creative act and in life, the song is in you before you know its final expression, and it is inviolable throughout all the stumbling of practice. In mastering its expression, you become the song…I see you, I see the unique music you bring.
3. Be physical. Make your own gut wrench. Let out a thought that makes you yell out loud at the words on your page. Throw your whole being into it. Seek your natural rhythm of thought, word and greater meaning.
4. It is right that your glasses are made for your own eyes and no one else’s, but it is also perfectly natural to adjust them once in awhile. Never get distracted by self-consciousness on either of these points. They are part of the rhythm.
5. You are allowed to sweat your art out your pores.
6. You are allowed to pause gracefully and move to your own timing. The silences are yours to own too.
7. Don’t be afraid of what your groove will look or sound like to others when it comes time to share it. The creative act will compel the right people at the right time.
8. Use your voice in a way no one expects. Laugh instead of worrying when eyebrows rise, because that’s engagement. Your joy in sharing the creative act will lead your tribe once you’ve startled them into awareness.
9. Sometimes, the right thing to do is to just lean back, smile and say, “Pshhhhhht.” People who aren’t your tribe will find it befuddling. People who are your tribe will think it’s utter coolness. While that’s a telling clue, it’s not the point. The point is, it’s the right thing to do.
10. Now is now. The rest is theoretical. Carpe diem and cherish it. Be here now, in the creative act.
11. You are the song: Life is a dance, not a quality-control checklist. And the creative act is a single lifelong motion performed with increasing fluency, not a formula of pass/fail requirements.
12. The greatest gift you can give in life and art is to let me dance to your tune. Thank you.
(More about Kevin Olusola)