Wonder is the pleasure of not knowing the answer.


I’m writing this from Tuscany, where I’m on retreat with 10 other writers. We meet every morning to talk about the puzzles of process, and then all afternoon people go to different corners of the villa to finish their page counts.

It’s pretty sweet. 

In today’s morning session, we talked about feeling excited about a work in progress and simultaneously feeling nervous about it. 

What if it doesn’t go anywhere? What if it doesn’t work? What do we do with all of the half-finished scenes we know need revision already? How do we write when we don’t know for sure that it’s all going to come together in the end?

When faced with uncertainty, our mind has two options: fear and doubt ("AH! Is something coming to get me?") or curiosity and fascination ("OH! I wonder what that is?) 

This is the gift of wonder: it shows us our own curiosity. 

But it’s really hard to get there if we don’t feel safe and okay first. 

How can we get to curiosity and bypass fear? Calm down regularly, and cultivate wonder.

Ways to calm down and cultivate wonder:

Go for a walk.

Text a trustworthy friend.

Pet your dog.

Read your favourite poem.

Sit down for a few minutes in a quiet place.

(These methods are so simple, we often skip them).

Repeat often, as needed.

Then, when you’re steady, have a look around you. 

Study the textures and colours of things.

Wonder is the pleasure of not knowing the answer. 

May you be surprised by your own work this month. 

May you feel fascinated by the unknown.

May you turn toward the inexpressible, and write it.


Sarah Selecky

Photo credit: Rajesh Rajput on Unsplash.

How to build good writing habits.
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