The resources listed here are all things I have found supportive for my own writing process, which includes freewriting with others; freewriting alone as part of my meditation practice; having an inviting, distraction-free space on the computer to write; having access to some key books on writing to provide inspiration; and having a supportive mentor or reader who resonates with my intentions as a writer. [Please note that this list focusses on the act of creation. If you are interested in information on publishing your work, click here.]
FREE Writing from the Soul Facilitator’s Kit: Nothing more valuable than living, breathing writer friends who you meet with regularly without having to critique each other all the time! It’s easy to start your own group, and I made a free kit to help you get started. It includes a downloadable flyer in pdf form (just add your location), Writing from the Soul Principle handouts in pdf form (print out and give to your group members), and a comprehensive guide for facilitators. If you’re nervous about starting a group, contact me and I’ll give you some tips and encouragement to get started. It’s so much easier than you think.
[Download free Facilitator’s Kit]
USE WRITING AS A MEDITATION PRACTICE:
Writing can be a powerful meditation practice, helping us to integrate our active mind with the mind of meditation. By using it as a process of inquiry, it can help us track our progress in loosening attachments and habitual states of mind even as it sharpens our ability to attend to the present moment. As little as 10 minutes of writing practice a day can reap great benefits. I wrote a simple guide for how to do this that was published on the Huffington Post.
A writing program with a simple screen. For freewriting practice, I use ommwriter. Beautifully designed, utterly simple, with a choice of soothing backgrounds in a distraction-free, full-screen mode — and it comes with a choice of built-in ambient music and sounds that are designed to enhance creativity. It only has what you need to write, not print and not set up manuscripts, but you can save as txt or rtf file when you’re ready to edit, and it’s easy to copy the text from there into your preferred word processing program. Perfect to give you a dedicated space for creating — a kind of sacred space on the computer. Having this dedicated space just for writing and using the same ambient music each time will help lift you out of work mode and into creation mode.
A place without internet access. If you can find yourself a writing spot that has no internet, that’s probably the best solution, but if you are unable to escape the wireless field and can’t stop yourself from checking email or doing “research” while you are writing, try Freedom. Set the timer, and it will cut you off from the internet for that time period. You’ll have to reboot to cheat, and that will make you think twice. Only $10. Many writers swear by it.
BOOKS TO OPEN YOUR WRITING CHANNELS:
Freewriting– Natalie Goldberg. For freewriting, her books Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind have great prompts and exercises. For memoir, Old Friend from Far Away is worth it just for the question prompts.
Writing prompts and exercises– Andy Couturier. Writing Open the Mind is bursting with creative exercises and playful games that will turn your writing habits inside out. Fun to do with friends, but even more fun to do with Andy who is a lively and inspiring teacher. For those in Santa Cruz or the Bay area, see his website for current offerings.
The craft of writing– Anne Lamott. Bird by Bird is a soulful, passionate, irreverent guide to writing. Down-to-earth suggestions that are filled with personality and wit. Like talking to a quirky, funny friend who is dedicated to honesty and transparency in writing and life. Helpful when you are haunted by writing demons.
Poetry– Jane Hirshfield. Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry. A collection of beautifully written essays filled with insight into the act of making poetry. A wonderful companion for poets striving for spiritual depth and substance in their work and in their lives.
Fiction– Sarah Stone. If you want to write fiction, using Deepening Fiction as your guide is like getting an MFA in a book. It is also helpful for non-fiction writers, because it breaks down how to write a good story with strong, original language. Deepening Fiction is used as a text book in MFA programs, and is expensive, but well worth it if you’re serious. It includes a wonderful collection of stories that will inspire you to do your best. The Longman Guide for Intermediate and Advanced Fiction Writing is the paperback, consumer version. It has everything Deepening Fiction has except the anthology, and it’s much cheaper. Highly recommended.
Journaling– Christina Baldwin. Life’s Companion: Journal writing as a spiritual quest is a classic book on journal writing as spiritual practice. It’s full of exercises and ideas for how to use writing to get to deeper layers of truth and authenticity. Lots of methods to dig in and evoke parts of yourself that are in hiding or otherwise out of reach. Even if you’ve been journaling a long time, this book can open doors and re-energize your process.
SUPPORTIVE COACHING FOR GOING TO THE NEXT LEVEL WITH YOUR WRITING:
Mentoring. I offer single and on-going mentoring sessions to support you as you access the courage to be more transparent in your writing — and in your life. I can be a second pair of eyes on your work-in-progress or hold your hand while you write a book. [mentoring for writers]