“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”-Jack Kerouac
“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” –Kurt Vonnegut
From my article in “Queen of the Castle, May 2014
I am writing a book. Although this endeavor has been ongoing in my life for the past eight months, I have only recently been able to claim it out loud. At first, the idea sounded so fun and breezy. I love to read and write so “why not?” I thought. Along the way however, my emotions surrounding this work have resembled a middle school romance.
There have been periods of despair peppered by great excitement and hope- often within the same afternoon. On most days, I am just trying to feel some forward movement. Writing is wonderful but difficult work. Sitting down at the computer to create takes discipline. The impulse to merge onto the Internet highway and shop, pin, read inspiring blogs or watch what Jimmy Fallon did on his show last night is fairly constant. Writing also requires compassion. We must resist the urge to be too hard on ourselves and repeatedly press delete. Like life, any written piece is only as “finished” as it’s last edit- a true work in progress. In this way, I find writing an optimistic endeavor.
Like any great creative process, writing is privileged time between you and yourself. This is precisely what makes it awesome and terrifying. Writing is an opportunity to expand into your flow state. Whether attempting to write a magazine article, a book or a journal entry, there is power in becoming quiet enough to hear and interpret your thoughts. Sharing your words is a lesson in vulnerability and even when writing something that no one else will ever see, it takes true courage to write honestly and from the heart.
Writing for the sake of writing is a great personal practice for anyone. By writing, you can work thru a problem or receive guidance from your higher self. Sometimes the most powerful writing comes out of simply opening yourself up to the page without any clue of what you are going to write about. “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” (Anne Frank)
If you have been meaning to write or have just gotten away from your journal, there is a simple and easy practice to begin. Commit to writing in this way for three to five days before you decide it is not for you. Choose a consistent daily time when you have about twenty minutes for yourself. Find a quiet space to sit and write. Writing with pen and paper works better than typing for this exercise. You may write an open-ended question at the top of your page such as “How are things with me?” You may also leave the page blank.
Settle in and close your eyes. Begin to notice your breath. Consciously slow down each inhale and exhale. Feel yourself relax. Ease into an expanded mind. After about five to ten minutes of simply sitting in this way, pick up your pen and begin to write.