WRITING TIP: The secret of saying something new and meaningful

Often when we write, we leap directly from busy life to keyboard without pause, and start with things we already think we know — about ourselves, about others, about the world. These familiar articulations have their place, but when we write to discover and reveal what it is obscured in us and in the world, we have to see and feel something fresh. So how do we do this? According to poet Mark Strand, the secret to saying something new and meaningful is to keep your eyes and ears open, and your mouth shut — for as long as possible. If we follow this advice at various points throughout the day — especially before we write — we make ourselves available to life as it is now, in all its variety, texture and specificity, with no hardened ideas to block new insights. Cultivating this pure receptivity is how to access meaning and live a fresh, creative life.