Normally I wouldn’t discuss a writing class in this blog, but the one I’m taking is more about inner growth work than writing, so I thought I would share! This class, Shadow Writing, is taught by Gloria Kempton, whom I met at a recent writers’ conference. I loved Gloria’s warmth and honesty, and something inside me whispered, “You can trust this teacher.”
For those not familiar with the concept of the “shadow,” it’s the part of ourselves that we keep hidden. We bury it under social masks, and the more we deny that part of ourselves, the more it wreaks havoc with our lives. For writers, denying the shadow self makes for weak and uninspired characters, because as writing brings us closer to our shadow, often we start making excuses for not finishing our work.
I signed up for the course because I have a villain in one of my novels whose head I’ve never quite been able to get into. I’ve also felt that my writing of late has been bland and boring, and I’ve lost some motivation to write — and yet, I know that when I am writing, I am a happier person.
In the past few weeks, I’ve gotten better acquainted with this character. I’ve poked into his childhood to try to understand why he is so cruel and sadistic. I’ve poked into my brain to uncover why I’m so unwilling to let him express himself fully. As a result, I’ve bumped into my shadow on several occasions already. Good thing my teacher feels so safe to me, because I’ve shed many tears in the past few weeks as I get to know this side of myself.
Through my studies, I am encountering the way I envy others who have been more successful at writing. I’ve also uncovered a great deal of ambition that I had pushed aside. No wonder I’m so darn tired all the time! So yes, I am admitting that I would like to sell some books…maybe even a lot of them. No more apologizing for wanting that!
Already I’m spending more consistent and focused time on the novel I’ve been working on, and in December I should be able to dust off the old novel with my problematic villain to try, yet again. The more I embrace my shadow, the more I am at peace.
Do you have any buried longings or dreams?