Last week, I read a post by Joanna Paterson at MidLife Journal on Facebook in which she distinguished writing with a capital “W “from writing. The phrase resonated with me and I found myself thinking of it, turning it over, and journaling about it.
“…writing doesn’t need to start with a capital W. There’s a role and a place for that kind of writing, of course there is, and I know many of us dream of getting our work ‘out there’, published, and read.
But there’s a whole lot of other writing that isn’t ever going to end up on someone’s bookshelf.” (Writing and Pathways of the Heart)
We all have our capital W writing – business communications, proposals, presentations, white papers, emails and more. It is the writing that is defined by the intended reader. We craft it with carefully chosen words and phrases with the knowledge that it will be read and in essence will be a reflection of our knowledge and talent.
While the capital W writing certainly has its place the professionalism of it can actually get in the way of the words.
Small w writing for me most often happens with a pen. It is “soul writing,” that comes from a place deep within where raw honesty supersedes style and content. My pen functions as a pipeline to my inner being where thoughts, ideas and feelings drain freely onto the page. In this haven of uncensored thought, the inner critic does not exist. There are no rules and thoughts are allowed to shove their way in uninvited even if the result is a page of seemingly fragmented nonsense.
If you have ever written a letter with no intention of sending it, or poured your heart out in a journal then you know the intensity and satisfaction of small w writing.
Some small w writing should remain private, a safe haven where you can work through the inner complexities without over analyzing the content of your message. Yet, I can’t help but wonder how much better we would communicate if we allowed at least a little of this into our public writing. Would we see posts and articles that were passionate and pure? Would we forgive less polished writing for writing that was heart felt and intense? Would we move past convention as we focus on communication?
I am convinced that writing from the soul always has a place whether is it done with a capital W or small w. How about you?
Karen Swim says
Joanna, as I have followed your trail on this across the cyberhighway your passion is apparent. Yes, somewhere between Writng,writing and journaling…and it is that place that I want to go with my creative writing. We need them all I think for they each serve a purpose, fulfill a need but I believe it is that space where we bring the heart and intensity of writing and journaling that makes the Writing accessible, real….
I don’t have the answers but it’s quite a joy walking this journey with you.
Karen Swim says
Rick, I shared recently that when I w write I am often surprised by the revelations. There is something about that process where words simply flow from the unconscious. Interesting about the non-dominant hand, but it makes complete sense. Rick, as always I appreciate your rich, deep insights.
Joanna Paterson says
Oh Karen, you are exploring something that is dear to my heart and I can never quite find the words for… it’s the stuff that’s deep and true and heart felt… yet is also formed enough and ready enough to be shared… allowing for the possibility of transformation, in the person who shares, and the person who reads.
it’s somewhere between Writing and writing and journaling…
it’s writing with heart…
Brad’s right, so often it’s what social media and blogging allows us to do…
Surely there’s a place in the work that we do, too, saying this is how things are, how they could be, might be, will be…
Maybe it’s writing with lots of … x
Karen Swim says
Hi Brad, that’s a brilliant insight! I had not even considered that as I wrote as I was thinking of longer forms but you are on to something. Hmm, good thoughts for another post. Thanks Brad!
Brad Shorr says
Hi Karen, This is an interesting question. I think social media is where big W and little W writing can peacefully coexist. I enjoy reading blog posts that blend information, opinion, and passion. In fact, this is really one of the major attractions of social media for me. It’s a whole new way to express business ideas and talk about them.
Rick Hamrick says
It is such a central part of this journey we are on, the pauses along the path when we reflect. The respites and what we discover in turning inward are the treasures of the travel.
Writing of the type you are calling little ‘w’ writing is a way we can learn what is going on inside which we may not even be aware of at a conscious level. My wife had me do some nondominant-hand writing years ago, and it was amazing how the deeply seated emotions came pouring out of my left hand in the child-like printing on the page.