“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” ~ Wordsworth
It’s been said that over 80% of Americans want to write a book. My guess is that the vast majority doesn’t actually want to commit the time, energy and focus it takes to complete a manuscript, or experience the rejection that often accompanies the search for an agent or publisher. What they do want is to tell their stories, to find their voices, to leave a legacy.
In this course, we’ll cover 10 “Big Ideas” that will assist you in learning to write from the heart and create a spiritual practice for transformation.
Monday, January 20th
I’ll be offering a livestream class through the en*theos Academy of Optimal Living on How to Write from the Heart: Writing as Spiritual Practice [Click here for details]. See you in class!
Top 10 Big Ideas
1. Accept the Invitation
If you’re still reading this, you’ve probably felt the nudge to write at some point in your life. That’s an invitation from the Universe to share your story or to discover something new on the page.
If you’ve felt called to write, it’s time to answer that calling.
2. Create Space
In order to write from the heart, you must create the space to do so, both in your schedule and location.
Where will you write? A desk by the window? A quiet library corner? A bustling coffee shop? There is not one more “spiritual” than another.
When will you write? For 20 minutes before others awaken? For two hours in the dark of night? Over your lunch hour? Look for a consistent time that you can commit to your craft.
3. Go Into Yourself
“Go into yourself,” the poet Rilke said. “Search for the reason that bids you write; find out whether it is spreading out its roots in the deepest places of your heart, acknowledge to yourself whether you would have to die if it were denied you to write. This above all—ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: must I write? Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple, “I must,” then build your life according to this necessity; your life even into its most indifferent and slightest hour must be a sign of this urge and a testimony to it.”
4. Overcome Resistance
Resistance, according to writer Steven Pressfield, is “that destructive force inside human nature that rises whenever we consider a tough, long-term course of action that might do for us or others something that’s actually good.”
Writing is good for you and for others. Don’t let fear, insecurity, your inner critic or self-sabotage stop you.
5. Beckon the Muse
Often, when I sit down to write, the first thing that comes to mind is I have absolutely nothing to say today. If you accept that kind of thinking, the writing never gets done. Heck, it doesn’t even get started. You cannot wait for inspiration or write only when you feel like it.
When writing from the heart, you don’t need to worry about writing the next great American novel, you only need to beckon the Muse and she will show up.
6. Learn to Write by Writing
I know writers who sharpened their craft by copying the sentences of the Greats. In order to learn how to write, you can look to those who have gone before you and copy their words in a notebook.
Or, you can begin to write where you are. Write about what’s in front of you and what’s within you. Write about how you feel.
Either way, you need to actually write in order to learn how to write.
7. Open to Discovery
Joan Didion says she writes to know what she is thinking. When we turn feelings into words and thoughts into sentences, we gain clarity on the events and circumstances in our lives.
Telling our stories can be transformative for both ourselves and the reader.
8. Experiment with Form
As a writing exercise, Natalie Goldberg suggests, “Keep your hand moving… I mean physically, your hand writing, your hand connected to your arm, to your shoulder, to your heart.”
Many would-be writers get caught up in choosing a form first, instead of allowing the words themselves to fill the form for which they are best suited.
Experiment with essay, haiku, fiction or poetry.
9. Explore Metaphor
A metaphor is not a literal comparison, but a symbol used to suggest one thing that resembles something else. In the realm of spirit, there are feelings, experiences and ideas that cannot be put into words; they are beyond language.
We use metaphors to compare one thing to another. These transcend the words themselves and helps us connect the dots from one idea to the next.
10. Dialogue with the Mystery
In our ultra plugged-in world, it’s all too easy to become disconnected from our inner world, from nature and from Source. Writing from the heart serves as a way to reconnect to your highest self and dialogue with the great Mystery.