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The Gift of Being a Writer.

I am fortunate. I have written my own material for 30 years but to write for no other reason than because I love it has been gift. My writing is always creative and mostly humorous but the biggest gift it has opened me up to worlds inside of myself.  And the act of writing is everything I am not. It’s spacious and generous. With pen moving across the page I see what I really think. It strips away the press release I issue to the world.  The sell job I have done on myself, and to the people around me. It captures those two in the morning thoughts when sleep won’t come and one can hear the thoughts between the thoughts. The grace notes.  The still small stories that percolate beneath the surface. The ones that bubble up and beg to be told.

I live on an island which I love. It should be the perfect place to write. But like all people I often find myself longing for another life. An urban life. But when I lived an urban life I wanted a country life. I was what I called geographically bi-polar. My mind straddling two worlds, always wanting the one I wasn’t in. So when I write I bring myself back to where I am.  I am 52. I have wisdom. I slow down and shine a light on what is in front of me. I sit on the south shore of the island see the Lake is down this year.  The wataer barely covers the rocks that were submerged. I watch my dog explore rocks . Gus has flea so he had to be shaved and he looks like he a reverse mullet. Business in the back and party in the front. The dog wanders off for a lap of water with no tolerance for a menopausal woman writing bad poetry. When I slow down the south shore is my version of going to church a place where I can give my own sermon.  I come back to the parts of myself I have forgotten. To the stories that live inside of me.

When I turned 49 I decided for my birthday I would no longer wait for gifts. I would give gifts instead and so I gave my first creative writers workshop in my studio on Amherst Island. I had taught these years ago for The Second City Theatre but I wanted to share this ability to sit and fin the present moment with other fellow writers. And it was open to people with writing experience and those with none. And what I found is that no matter the level of writer, they all told themselves the same story. I am not good enough as a writer. I won’t be able to do it.

Over the next 7 workshops I saw that the voice of doubt was the biggest obstacle for writers (and likely most of the population) We had 10 year olds and 90 year olds and they still suffered from the  same voice of doubt. Doubt is the traveling companion to the creative life. The toxic troll. It’s up ahead of you in the morning, sitting on the end of the bed smoking a cigar, wearing a pink skirt with no panties. saying “Oh you slept in. I’ve been up for hours.” It follows you around all day whispering like Victor Newman off Young and the Restless, “I wouldn’t have done that if I were you. You suck. Have a cookie.”

So the workshops have been a wonderful venue to challenge that voice of doubt, evict it from their heads. With all that extra square footage they can access the creative in a safe way.

I have delighted in hearing the follow up stories. Some went on to start their memoirs; some finished their screenplays. Some took that trip they wanted to take. Some painted incredible oil paintings. But all walked away feeling full and open to the idea that we all have the right to write our stories—Storytelling is what makes us human. Story telling is what we do to confirm we exist.

As it is with all teaching, it helps the teacher as much as the student. It reaffirms my desire to write. To put what I love first and move the pen across page. To push the pause button on the chaotic world and take notes of the passing show.

Deborah Kimmett has been employed as a freelance writer for 25 years. A Second City veteran she works for CBC Radio’s The Debaters and many magazines including Canadian Living and Kingston Life. She has completed her first novel and has a published book called Reality is Over Rated. Her writing workshops take place this year on June 12th and August 7th and 8th. Register www.kimmett.ca under buy stuff.

Filed Under: Deborah Kimmett

About the Author: Deborah Kimmett is not just a funny face. She knows a thing or two about life. Whether on the stage, or in the conference room, this witty and wise woman knows laughing matters. With her hilarious stories and interactive exercises she ignites, inspires and offers strategies for success. Side Effects: You might get your sense of humor back. Visit her at www.kimmett.ca or on youtube at www.youtube.com/user/DebKimmett

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