WRITING TIP: Draw on feeling more than thought

Writing tip: Draw on feeling more than thought...
To write from the soul means accessing the place where your particular humanness meets universal truth. Tuning into feeling and sensing will bring you there much more reliably than tuning into thoughts, beliefs and convictions. American poet ee cummings gives wise counsel on this: “Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself. To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” And what are you fighting for? A soulful life, freed from conditioning, living as you are suited to live, aligned with what most resonates with your depths.

WRITING PROMPT: A painted backdrop…

Writing prompt: A painted backdrop...

WRITING PROMPT: Beneath what is known…

Writing prompt: Beneath what is known...

WRITING PROMPT: Footsteps in reverse…

writing prompt: footsteps in reverse...

WRITING TIP: Form an intimate relationship with your subject

WRITING TIP
Writing soulfully requires intimacy — with yourself and with your subject. As in any intimate relationship, to get close to and understand your subject requires time and care. Try taking Rachel Carson’s advise (which might also work with a friend you want to be closer to): “The writer must never attempt to impose himself upon his subject. He must not try to mold it according to what he believes his readers or editors want to read. His initial task is to come to know his subject intimately, to understand its every aspect, to let it fill his mind. Then at some turning point the subject takes command and the true act of creation begins. … The discipline of the writer is to learn to be still and listen to what his subject has to tell him.”

WRITING PROMPT: I forget to listen…

WRITING TIP: I forget to listen...

WRITING PROMPT: Fumble for the light switch…

WRITING PROMPT: Fumble for the light switch...

WRITING PROMPT: The normal you save me from…

WRITING PROMPT: The normal you save me from...

WRITING TIP: No time to write? Take the one-day challenge.

One-day challenge
When writing seems impossible given all the world’s tasks and distractions, it’s time to take the one-day challenge. Here’s how to do it: right now, find a time tomorrow that is the best time to write and put it on your schedule, even if all you can manage is a 5-minute freewrite while you wait for the coffee to brew. Remind yourself you only have to do it that one day — and do it. Just this once, you can do as Joyce Carol Oates does: “I have forced myself to begin writing when I’ve been utterly exhausted, when I’ve felt my soul as thin as a playing card, when nothing has seemed worth enduring for another five minutes… and somehow the activity of writing changes everything. Or appears to do so.” After you finish writing (while you’re still feeling some sense of accomplishment), decide to take the one-day challenge again and put it on tomorrow’s schedule. Repeat as many times as necessary.

INSPIRATION: My two new books came out of my freewrite practice

I have just released two new books that I hope will inspire you to make one of your own, since both were born from my soul writing practice. The first is a poetry book called Cartoon Kali: Poems for Dangerous Times, which has taken a couple of years for me to refine and complete. The other, The Big and the Small: A Soul Story, poured out in one sitting and includes my own scribble drawings. I did it as a personal practice during a time of great transition and it was such a powerful help to me that I decided to publish it as a book to encourage others to try doing something similar in their own explorations. Ready to play? Have a look at some sample pages for both books — then dive into refining your own work for publication.