Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ballroom Writing

our first showcase 

Who knew that waltzing could change your writing?

I certainly hadn’t anticipated a connection. Not I, the Point A to Point B mom of four busy sons. My initial goal was to maneuver around a wedding reception dance floor with my husband. After passing that milestone we set a new goal: to pursue a new venture—ballroom dancing--together. The romance stemming from that pursuit certainly hasn’t hurt the effort.

But as we’ve learned ballroom figures the goal has softened. Slow down. Draw out the seconds. Refuse to rush to a destination on the floor. Savor the music falling not only on but across the beats. Why? There is deep value in every tiny movement. There is treasure in a slow unfolding. And particularly in waltz there is powerful and purposeful rise and fall through the drawn out turns.

So how does waltzing influence writing?

It creates joy in progress. Goals are good. They provide purpose, direction and motivation. But we are impatient to arrive. If we rush at our goals we severely diminish the delight we might have savored in the movement toward those good goals.

It creates beauty. How? Every moment is committed to arcing progress. The beauty comes from the curving arc through a point, not a bee line to the point, a pause, and then a rush to the next point. Rather than writing nothing for days, then writing for hours—as I have today—give yourself a bit of time to write even in the over full days. Those moments will likely be lovely.

It creates a weightlessness because movement is balanced and well timed. Rushing creates extraneous movement, which leads to a greater rush to regain lost time, and that rush throws the whole dance out of balance. But if you and I continue in unhurried movement, our writing—and even daily demands—can feel less weighty.

So if the ballroom serves as writing classroom what might one glean from, say, a foxtrot?


  1. I love ballroom dancing! I wish there was a place for us to learn around here close. I did a lot of it when I was in my early 20s. Mr. Himself doesn't dance (but I think I could talk him into it if there was a local class). What fun and what a lovely post! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Very good blog, Renata. But what else is new. Of course, I grew up not with ball room dancing but with square dancing and then the greatest art form of music ever invented -- disco.

    Thanks for posting.

  3. Renata,
    I'll tell my husband this is necessary research for my next romance :-)

  4. Rachael, I wish that'd work for my husband...maybe in a future year. This was a helpful analogy to me, Renata. Thanks so much. I felt the change from prescribed steps to graceful creativity in your second paragraph and easily translated that to my current wip