When writing means spirit spilling

This week I learned a beautiful expression for writing with honesty, with authenticity, with truth.

Spirit spilling.

It came as a blessing from Rosa Say to those writers who, she says, don’t just make her think but make her spirits spill. Her words fair took our breath away.

It was Dave Rothacker who penned the most thoughtful reply.

I love the visual of spirit spilling Rosa! My first thought; spirit spilling is like a river over running her banks, in search of new banks…but there are none. For what is in the spirit and what yearns to flow forth, cannot be restrained.

Spirit spilling is writing. And to know that something I have written has traveled from one spirit to the other, producing the desire for that person to write about it, well, that is my greatest reward.

Karen Wallace reminded me of this power of our words to touch, to connect, to move others with her comment on Happy Butterfly Day.

Butterflies do remind me of the ‘butterfly effect’ where even the soft beat of butterfly wings on one side of the world is felt on the other side of the world as it reverberates and gathers strength.To me, this is such a powerful analogy - it gives me the strength and courage to beat my own, soft little wings… in the hope that somewhere, somehow, someone will benefit from the breeze they create. We each have a gift to share with the world… and we never know who will need what we have to share.

As does Liz when she describes writing with authenticity. Not just to create compelling copy, surely, but to spill our spirits.

Tell your own truth, exactly as you know it. Do [not] second guess what other folks might think of it. Trying to read the minds of your readers will only dilute and unravel the power of what you’re saying. Readers who come in good faith will be able to find the place where your experience meets with their own. People are more alike than different. The genuine truth of any story resonates with humanity.

Sometimes this means writing with courage, with honesty. As April teaches us, it means unlearning mediocrity and a commitment to:

Listen to those around me. They have so much to offer and they do so freely.
Laugh at myself. There are few things that should be taken so seriously.
Learn everyday. Or relearn. Or unlearn.
Link into community. Singularly we are wonderful - collectively we are masterful.
Love the life I am in while striving for the life I want.
Live to give back.
Leap even if I am afraid.

And the last word goes back to Rosa, who inspired so many of us this week with her words. She’s talking about:

writing with bravery, trusting that whatever writing authentically flows from your real self will always, always be worthy of a reader’s given attentions. Spirit spilling.

This is my 5th and final contribution to Liz’s thematic writing challenge, flowing from my earlier post.

It seems like a good place to close :-)

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7 Responses to “When writing means spirit spilling”

  1. On August 19, 2007 at 7:00 pm Liz Strauss responded with... #

    You’ve made so many beautiful, flowing contributions. I’ve lost track. Gifted. Wow!

  2. On August 19, 2007 at 9:05 pm Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Well, your challenge inspired me. And it somehow coincided with a week where lots of things fell into place in my head, ching, ching, ching. You know the way that is sometimes :-)


  3. On August 19, 2007 at 11:36 pm Jeanne Dininni responded with... #


    This post is so excellent, I simply have to say…”You’ve been Stumbled!”

    Wonderful job!

  4. On August 20, 2007 at 2:30 am Karen Wallace responded with... #

    oh, so beautifully put! You truly spill your spirit into mine with everything you write…

    We may be a world apart geographically, but the power of the blog internet allows our spirits to grow and learn and connect and seem like we’re just around the corner from each other - your “honesty, authenticity, and truth” brings you straight into my home and my heart.

  5. On August 20, 2007 at 10:26 am Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Jeanne, thanks so much, and for all the encouragement that you offer me.


  6. On August 20, 2007 at 10:28 am Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Karen, what can I say? Thank you so much for these words, I will treasure them.




  1. How to learn from your writing | Confident Writing - March 8, 2010

    [...] I’ve been reflecting on what I have learned from those who give so generously to us and people who inspire us with their words.  Who spill their spirits, and in so doing, spill [...]

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