EVERY TWO WEEKS, I send out a writing tip and three soul-inviting prompts as inspiration for you to freewrite, either alone with your timer or in a gathering of writer friends. The resulting deep play opens up whole new landscapes of creative possibility for our writing and our lives. If you are new to this kind of writing practice, have a look at the freewriting principles. And to take your writing to the next level, check out the mentoring sessions I offer, which are helpful whether you are working on a book or just beginning to find your voice. [read more]
We all have danger zones—areas we are afraid to write about in fear of offending someone or revealing a part of ourselves we aren’t proud of. It can be enlightening to do a freewrite listing all of the things you would write about if your audience were angels capable of unconditional love. What would you write if you were guaranteed acceptance? You might find your most important work on that list.
When bad stuff happens to us, we can let it color our view of life, making it dimmer and meaner than before. Or we can do what accomplished writers, artists and spiritual practitioners know to do: Turn it into a creative resource. Whatever happens in our life is raw material, and with it we shape our stories and our world. Whether we judge it good or bad, nothing that happens can’t be used to make a story or image or insight that helps our lives — and by extension, the world — to be more compassionate, just, enthralling and meaningful. This is the real challenge of picking ourselves up from the rubble and finding a pen to write about it.
What do we mean when we say “soul,” and given our understanding, what does it mean to write from there? In a recent interview, author and teacher Francis Weller spoke of the regions soul concerns itself with: “Soul invites the marginal, the excluded, and the unwelcome pieces of ourselves into our attention. Soul is often found at the edges, both in the culture and in our lives. Soul takes us down into the places of our shared humanity, such as sorrow and longing, suffering and death. Soul requires that we be authentic, revealing what lies behind the image we try to show the world, including our flaws and peculiarities. Soul doesn’t care at all about perfection or getting it right. It cares about participation. Soul is revealed in dreams and images, in our most intimate conversations, and in our desire to live a life of meaning and purpose.”