The Writing Process, Part 1: Color

mosaicI noticed something recently about the colors of the words that have streamed from my head these few months. The versicolor spectrum has many lighter, brighter hues than my writing has seen over the years. The lacuna of the last ten years where I was entirely occupied in the life of a wife and mother helped highlight the change in the timbre of my voice. Looking back at the single young woman from this side of time, I am a little startled at the levity in the beloved writing that I have picked up again. Because for much of my life, I wrote from a very dark place.

There is a creative force to the darkness, hence the archetypal artist who seeks to express the drama of his despair. In high school when my writing was a way of repainting and processing grief and anger, I was drawn to poets and writers like Sylvia Plath who spoke out of emptiness and flat despair. As my faith and hope in God grew into my 20s, I recognized a troubling truth. While my work was reflecting more light, an enduring spirit of despondency continued to inspire my artistry in both poetry and song composition.

And I didn’t mind.

I was tasting the addictiveness of writing under darker influences. The dynamic is fascinating to me. But it is remarkable that after a decade of sporadic writing that has gathered dust, I rise to see the sun on my words. I don’t think the difference is so simply a reflection of my faith, which was in many ways stronger in my younger days. And deep faith does not leave one immune from crippling self-talk or depression, as many spiritual giants in Christian history have shown. Nor could it be a straight matter of the joy I have experienced with my family through my 30s because I have had more than my share of unwelcome challenges in that chapter. It is more the rawness, the edginess the Great Potter has sanded and sculpted of my spirit. The awareness of self and others, that is, the keen knowledge of my own weaknesses and knowledge that everyone is a work in progress so I can relax and forgive and enjoy my life more is the posture of the soul that has written this blog. I now feel like it was a copout to depend on the spirit of encumberance to fuel my creativity. Certainly life is a mosaic of the great occasions of change, surprise, happiness, and pain and it is the helpless business of the artist to paint these colors in his chosen medium. But I no longer gravitate to the dark hues in my storytelling – because I don’t have to. I find myself enjoying the beauty, redemption, transformation of my art as I explore these very elements in the poetry of life.

30 thoughts on “The Writing Process, Part 1: Color

    • Thanks, Rae. I look forward to looking at your site some more when I resurface. Just wrapped up a long bday wknd for my boy and am trying to catch up on…everything. Blessings. =) Diana

    • You know, I am growing more surprised by the responses coming in on this one. It really helps to hear what readers think..simply because we can’t read minds. My husband liked it but found it “heavy,” which took me a bit back. Thank you so much for the lovely encouragement. Blessings.

  1. Diana, Thank you for reading my blog and making your thoughtful comment. I just read this piece and I am resonating with your words. I realize as well, that if I wrote each day in the afternoon rather than first thing upon rising, the words that would come forth would be completely different. I seem to often awaken in a “dark” (maybe sad or melancholy would be more appropriate word) ” but once I move into my day (especially if I teach a yoga class) my mood becomes “light” and I am able to see my world through a different lens. Thank you for pointing me toward this observation. I will enjoy reading more of your posts.

  2. That’s all right. =) Sweet of you to address me by name. That is fascinating…how the different time of day affects your writing. Actually, reminds me of a post I came across today (a depressed writer). Thanks for the specific feedback. Blessings. Diana

  3. hi Diana,
    This is such a beautiful post. A wonderful journey. I’ll definitely drop by again and again. Thank you so much for visiting my page. God bless =)

  4. I just listened to “Would love for today’s kids to write like this”. Wow, what a powerful speech! Thanks for finding & sharing it with your readers!
    Blessings on a great blog site!

  5. Great post, it speaks to me in various ways. I’m just beginning my 20s and I’ve had journeys with my writing that have taken me both in my darker and lighter sides. Although my darker side is more predominant in my writings, I always do try to also express my lighter side in poetry, however I still struggle when I try to do that, negative emotions that I’ve bottled up tend to pour out of me more easily than the positive ones. Writing can sometimes be my escape.

  6. Writing from a dark place is not darkness. It is enlightenment. A dark place is not a prerequisite for darkness or is it! I have never looked into it. I refuse to analyse and just accept that what is transpiring is an ongoing journey towards light.

      • Life does not always have to be about ‘light’ … ‘Light’ doesn’t mean absolute good. There is more to happiness than ‘light’. Many organisms find great peace in dark places. Light Vs Enlightenment.

      • “Writing from a dark place is not darkness. It is enlightenment.” Not categorically. But I agree that “There is more to happiness than ‘light’. Many organisms find great peace in dark places. Light Vs Enlightenment.” Good distinction.

  7. I am exploring this same dynamic. I find that the darkness somehow is a sort of crutch, and easier way in, to that well that communicates with images and juxtaposition and Truths that cannot be denied. There’s sort of a force that drives me to that place, when I am in pain or experiencing loss. (Maybe this is one mechanism by which loss produces new growth, the destruction/creation cycle.)

    But lately now that I am developing this habit of going to that “well” daily, whatever my mood “weather” happens to be that day, I find this new energy in it. I love that. And I think it’s building my resiliency, too.

    Anyway. Nice post, made me think.;

    • Wasn’t one of my best, but I suspected it’d speak to you.

      (Maybe this is one mechanism by which loss produces new growth, the destruction/creation cycle.)


      whatever my mood “weather” happens to be that day, I find this new energy in it

      LOVE it.

      I think it makes us better writers not to depend on our darker side.

    • Someone put up a thoughtful, interesting comment on this post, on how she realized after the reading that the time of day in which she writes affects the color of her writing. It is best not to work the brain past 6 pm anyway – in reference to your resolve to write in the morning – I was about to “like” that one when the scroller slipped and I lost the post. Best for the energy of body and mind to rise and set with the sun. Too bad I know better, sigh. *Fighting for time as a mother*

  8. Pingback: The Process II, Finale: Calling All Artists, Thinkers, Writers | A Holistic Journey

  9. Hi Diana, I was just thinking of you this weekend, and wondering why I hadn’t seen you in my blog reader for a while…and here you are :). I actually came here from your most recent post. I have been most interested in this idea of the tortured artist who can only enter the creative world through dysfunction, addiction or misery. I have been interested in disputing that concept as well :).

      • As we all do. Was my smile crooked? I didn’t mean it to be.
        Thank you for linking me to the post I missed (i was just lying in bed wondering what happened to last week. It is extraordinary how it evaporated). I loved the clip. Beauty is endlessly fascinating to me. The social and political constructs behind beauty are interesting too. Korea is particularly striking because of the north and south divide and how their different politics created such different ideas of beauty. Enjoy your week Diana xo

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