07 Nov Writing to inspire yourself
How often do you stop and write for yourself? Not because you must or you’ve got a deadline to make – just for the pleasure of putting pen to paper and seeing what comes out.
For me, despite what I wrote in my last post, I realised it’s not often enough.
Last weekend at my storytelling workshop in Tilba Tilba on the South Coast it struck me how writing is a form of alchemy. Get a group of people around a table, give them creative exercises and quiet time to write, and change happens. It might be a simple ‘Ah-hah’ moment, a profound realisation, a softening inside, or a chance to connect the fragmented dots of our lives into a single narrative strand.
It helped that we were in beautiful surroundings: flower-filled gardens on the edge of Gulaga (Mount Dromedary) with wedgetail eagles soaring above and a waterfall trickling. The environment lent itself to reflection and an invitation to go deeper.
The mountain inspires you – from the Latin ‘to breathe into’ – and encourages you to be present with where you are and what you’re putting on the page. Sometimes we need that inspiration from the outside to make us realise what gems we have within.
Unlike most of my workshops, this one wasn’t about craft or the product. Rather it was about how revealing – and healing – the process of writing can be.
I’ve done many workshops over the years which are geared towards completing an article or a book or getting published. Yet that wasn’t why I started writing. When I began it was a way to understand myself better and through that, try to make sense of this world. Storytelling and writing give order to the chaos of our lives.
I think of it as a spiral. You might start with a relatively simple issue and the first time you write about it, you only touch the surface. Then as you write over different days, you question more. You seek understanding and look for meaning. The deeper you go, the more you are able to integrate the event and hopefully, find acceptance with it.
And the best way to do this? Scientific research suggests writing for 20 minutes on one issue over three days produces positive results.
Writing by hand (although some people might struggle to read what they’ve written!) is a gentle process. The rhythmic nature of it is meditative and it is a way of connecting your hand with your heart.
And as you do, you’ll be surprised by what you discover in the nest of your own experience.
So what do you like to write about in your journal?