Writers, like the shamans or medicine men and women of ancient cultures, have the potential to be healers.
~~ Christopher Vogler
The Hero’s Journey and the Writer’s Journey are one and the same. Anyone setting out to write a story soon encounters all the tests, trials, ordeals, joys, and rewards of the Hero’s Journey. We meet all of its Shadows, Shapeshifters, Mentors, Tricksters, and Threshold Guardians in the interior landscape. Writing is an often perilous journey inward to probe the depths of one’s soul and bring back the Elixir of experience — a good story. Low self-esteem or confusion about goals may be the Shadows that chill our work, an editor or one’s own judgmental side may be the Threshold Guardians that seem to block our way. Accidents, computer problems, and difficulties with time and discipline may torment and taunt us like Tricksters. Unrealistic dreams of success or distractions may be the Shapeshifters who tempt, confuse, and dazzle us. Deadlines, editorial decisions, or the struggle to sell our work may be the Tests and Ordeals from which we seem to die but are Resurrected to write again.
But take hope, for writing is magic. Even the simplest act of writing is almost supernatural, on the borderland with telepathy. Just think: We can make a few abstract marks on a piece of paper in a certain order and someone a world away and a thousand years from now can know our deepest thoughts. The boundaries of space and time and even the limitations of death can be transcended.
…We writers share in the godlike power of the shamans. We not only travel to other worlds but create them out of space and time. When we write, we truly travel to these worlds of our imagination. Anyone who has tried to write seriously knows this is why we need solitude and concentration. We are actually traveling to another place and time.
…Our stories have the power to heal, to make the world new again, to give people metaphors by which they can better understand their own lives.
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