Go Squeeze Words

pencils rich in wordsDo you read what artists in other disciplines are writing about?

I am always surprised by how helpful blogs and books about photography or visual arts or theater (or any art form) can be for my own writing or movement creativity.

“Think like a painter. Think like a musician. Think like a surgeon. Don’t think, just write.”  Lisa Moore (Prism International, 2009)

I’ve been receiving ideas, advice, inspiration and encouragement from artist Robert Genn’s always entertaining twice-weekly newsletters for years. His recent passing will be a great loss to those who enjoyed his writings, paintings and teaching.

His daughter Sara, also a visual artist, is picking up the torch and continuing her father’s newsletter tradition. In last week’s newsletter she celebrated her father with a moving and inspiring tribute.

Robert Genn was a master of pithy quotations. One in particular that Sara shared, snagged my attention:

“Squeeze your paints like a millionaire.”

In other words: Don’t stint the paint. Be generous with it. Assume there will always be more…a whole lot more. Assume you will never, ever, run out.

What if we substituted “words” for “paints”?

Just imagine!

All those words, milling around inside your body, your head, your pencil, your keyboard… pushing and shoving at each other, desperate to get out…A little squeeze, finger strikes keyboard or lead meets paper, and – ah, relief! – there they are, words bursting out all over the page!

Sit down and close your eyes for a second. Feel all those words jostling around inside… You don’t need to know what they are, just that they are there, eager to get out. And remember, when those words are used up, there’ll be plenty more ready to spill on the page with all the passion, joy and playfulness you could desire.

And the squeeze?

Write for 20 minutes as fast as you can in response to this photograph (used with kind permission of photographer David Moscovitch):

photograph courtesy of David Moscovitch

© David Moscovitch

Squeeze your words like a millionaire!

Thank you to Robert Genn for bringing so many artists – visual artists and others – together over his years of painting, and inspirational teaching and writing.




2 thoughts on “Go Squeeze Words

  1. I like that concept of going for it w/o holding back. There have been times when I’ve worried that if I put all the good ideas I have into one novel, I might not have any left for the next book. Then I catch myself: I’d rather write one GREAT novel than several mediocre ones; why hold back? And so far, I’ve NEVER run out of ideas. I think writers are lucky: we have limitless “paint”!


    • I agree. I always feel that if you don’t get all your ideas out, there’s no space for new ones so your writing can’t grow. I also agree with you about the one GREAT novel!


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