I quite enjoy hearing how I’ve helped some people move from the great desire to write, to actually doing it from just having read my blog on writing.
As with the desire we humans have to express ourselves, most of us want to get to the point where we share that unique expression, that unique perspective, with others.
But sometimes what we wish to express comes from an intense, intimate, and painful place. How do you deal with the desire to express that and the intense fear of doing that very thing?
One thing is you have to realize is that you are not alone. There are a lot of people in this group “humanity” who have the same fears, who have equally painful experiences and who also have the desire to get it out of themselves.
The process of writing down any intimate thought, especially painful or horrific ones, is therapeutic. It’s an expurgation and reflection process that helps us look at ourselves from a new perspective. It can help minimize the effect of painful memories on our present life. It can help us identify harmful patterns, which is the first step in bringing about change in our lives.
It can also reduce the hold in which painful secrets have on us. Abuse or trauma tends to make us push the experience deep down in secretive places in us so that we don’t have to deal with the experience on a conscious level. It’s a protective measure so that we can go about our lives as functioning individuals.
The problem with secrets is that they have greater power over you when they are kept secret. They lose this power when you express them in the safe manner writing offers, and certainly more so when done in a therapist’s office—but not everyone wants to take that step.
That’s why writing is a great first step.
Many authors relieve their own burden of thought through their stories. This is a safe, and powerful, way to deal with what’s inside them without coming right out and exposing themselves directly.
The following are points that may help you finally get past the fear of putting something on that blank page, that blank screen before you.
- Know that not writing will absolutely produce nothing. Good or bad. Writing badly means you can only get better. And that means better is in your future.
Writing nothing is a safe, stagnate zone. Yuck, who likes stagnant? Who actually likes that word in practice or thought? Internal movement produces change in our direct person or in our direct and extended environment.
- There is help out there that will not put you down. People who will see your value and help get you to realize it for yourself. Seek out writing groups or friends interested in the same process—you’d be surprised to find how many people in your very close circles may have this same desire to write. Some people need this initial external motivation to help them produce, to feel free, to feel their worth. They are out there. Google them.
- One word. Seriously. One word is all it takes to start a novel, a short story, a pamphlet, a thesis. Whatever your project, start with that one word. If you don’t like that word, choose another. There are lots of them. One word, then another. Your conscious and subconscious mind will connect them. Trust that.
- Don’t think about the whole, massive, overwhelmingness of the project. Take it in little bites: 30 minutes of writing, 50-500 words at a time. Little consistent bites gets and you’ll soon have the whole project done.
- Trust that you have something valuable to say, something other people will want to hear. There are 7 billion of us. If people find a blog on “gum on the bottom of my shoe” interesting, I absolutely know you will find someone who likes what you have to say. And they will like the way you have to say it.
- You will get better the more you write. You will connect with your voice and the way you express yourself in new and interesting ways. Life is a process. Writing is a process. We crawl, we walk, we run—but only if we keep rising to the daily challenge.
- Read. Seriously. Read and read and read. Not to pick up a style of writing to make your own, but to lose yourself in the story. Let it carry you away. Then look at how different authors express themselves. Look at the types of narratives that inspire you to lose yourself.
Variations among authors is sometimes glaring, sometimes subtle. If they have a free, uninhibited connection to their voice, they will have a unique signature that piques our interest because of their honestly. A painter who expresses him/herself honestly is like no other. Writing is same.
- Write your dreams down. It seems incredible enough, but we have a self narrative going on inside of us all the time, and sometimes a wondrous one each night.
When you wake, take a few minutes to jot down the essence of the dreams you’ve had. My dreams play out like full-length movies. I could be any character and often switch from one perspective to another in the course of the dream. I write this stuff down. It helps me connect to that voice inside me that has no problem with ease of flow.
Enjoy that rich pause shortly after waking and marvel at how your brain turns the mundane into wonder.
I have a friend who has a lot of cleaning dreams. She spends the entire dream cleaning her house, or her dishes, etc. But then she’ll have some wild fighting dreams where she’s the one doing the butt kickin’—probably her mind’s way of making up for all that cleaning frustration.
Whatever you dream; if you write your dreams down, you’re writing. Its a great way to ease into this wonderful effort.
- Start with poetry. It can be rhyming, cinquain, Haiku, free form, etc. Poetry helps you express concisely expansive imagery, emotions and concepts. Writing poetry can help make your other writing colorful. It also helps you remove that which isn’t necessary.
- Write for yourself. No one has to see what you put down. There are plenty of computer programs available that will allow you to encrypt your stuff so no one else can see it. Whatever level of security you need to feel free to do this life work, do it.
Just think about it: if you were offered the ability to be able to peer into anyone’s deepest thoughts, would you?
Damn right you would.
Writing is your ability to let others peer into you thoughts. And you can certainly disguise them by writing a fantastic story around them.
We’re interested. Don’t leave us hanging.