Harnessing the Transformative Power of a Writer’s Retreat

Deutsch: Retreat
Deutsch: Retreat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you read or listen to many coaches for authors, you might notice them saying the same thing.

The first purpose of inspirational writing is to change yourself.

You may or may not agree with that idea, but you probably have noticed that often when we teach something to someone else, we are the ones who learn the most.  Personally, I have always found any kind of writing to be transformational.  Even writing computer user guides can teach you something about writing.

The process of organizing our thoughts or simply writing them, at the very least lets us know what our thoughts are.  Sometimes when we’re lucky, our writing creates beauty and wisdom and inspiration for others.

Most of all, writing is a form of self-expression.  What else could we be put upon this earth to do, if it is not to share our best self?  If writing calls to you, why not see where yours will take you this summer in an even more concentrated way and take part in a writer’s retreat?

You may already be planning on attending a writer’s retreat or creating your own.  Whether your retreat is 15 minutes or the whole summer, give yourself the chance to learn, grow and explore your unique self that you’re expressing.

In the next few posts, I’m going to offer some ideas on how to increase the expression of your self in a self-driven writer’s retreat. You deserve something that goes beyond your typical routine with writing and you can do that on your own.  However, if you want to include other writers, that’s great too!

Had you planned on giving yourself the gift of a writer’s retreat this season or this year?

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Where is Your Writing Taking You?

Shell Spiral
Shell Spiral (Photo credit: Theen …)

There are many places that our writing can take us:

  • New worlds (fantasy or real)
  • New work – assignments and projects we might not have been able to imagine
  • Discovering we have a tribe of followers of our ideas
  • Discovering no one resonates with our ideas
  • Deeper into our soul, whether anyone reads our writing or not
  • Into despair even though we have many readers
  • Closer to God
  • Farther away from God
  • Stuck in our mind
  • More deeply into the heart of our life
  • Into our own world that keeps us separated from others
  • Into a shared world that brings us closer together with others

And more . . .

Our writing destination is both a choice and an unplanned spiral journey expanding us and often bringing us back to a focal point defined by the greater part of our soul.

Where is your writing taking you now?

Where would you like your writing to take you?

Do you have a choice?

Celebrate where you are going, even if it’s not obvious to you in this moment.

Energy Booster for Writers

writing
writing (Photo credit: found_drama)

This is the final post in my current series of blogs about taking the brakes off of your personal energy and innate goodness.

Today, I am sharing ideas about why it matters for writers to understand our personal energy, and to be aware of the type of energy that we’re putting into our writing.

Nowadays, most of us are bombarded with information and writing that is packed with different kinds of energy.

Some communications are uplifting, funny and inspiring.  Others are angry, demeaning, fearful.  Of course, many pieces of writing are boring because the energy of emotion is not present in them at all!

Your writing has an energy to it that often reflects the kind of day that you’re having.  This doesn’t mean you should only write when your energy is “good”. Sometimes, the “negative” energy is just what a story needs to create drama and interest.  So, it’s not necessary that your energy becomes all sunshine and roses.  However, it’s helpful to track your energy over the course of time to notice how the type of energy you are experiencing and creating affects your writing.

south to north view of chicagoland area
south to north view of chicagoland area (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Energy Boosters for Writers worksheet is something I’m putting together for my 7 Elixirs class for Writers that I’ll going to be offering this fall in the Chicago area.  It’s based on the writing coaching work that I’ve done in the last few years.

I’ve noticed that finishing projects often requires that we manage our energy for the toughest part of writing which is when we are refining our work.  This is the time when we throw out good and sometimes great ideas for the sake of a story or grant application or marketing brochure or memoir.

This worksheet may not make complete sense, because it’s out of context to the rest of the course that I’ll be giving.  Yet, I’m sharing it anyway because it’s rather self-explanatory, and shows you a different way of managing your time and energy in conjunction with your writing.

Energy Booster for Writers Worksheet

Hope you’ve enjoyed this series of blogs!  Tomorrow, we’ll be back to some literary musings.

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How Do Your Characters Handle Pain?

Today about five minutes before my cardio workout at the gym was to end, I started feeling a pain in my left foot. My first inclination was to push through the pain.  I was feeling so proud of myself for being disciplined enough to add more exercise to my life.  I knew it was just a normal blister, nothing special.   Yet, dealing with this little pain got me to thinking about the idea of necessary and unnecessary pain in our lives and creative writing.

Let’s face it, pain is part of life.

Our creative writing generally needs to reflect this truth, or our stories ending up feeling flat or unreal. There are many times in life that we literally have to push through physical pain, and it helps a story when characters experience the normal pains of life.

It’s also helpful to examine the unnecessary pain in our stories.  This is often the kind of pain that leads to the biggest tragedies and sometimes the biggest humor.  From Macbeth’s unnecessary ambition to Lucy and Ethel on TV shoving chocolates in their mouth in the candy factor, the choices of our characters in avoiding pain, especially mental pain, can help us to define our stories.

One of the benefits of a novel is the way in which a longer story can engage with both necessary and unnecessary pain.  Yet, a great short story or poem can also deal with this very important subject.

Here are a few questions to get you thinking about the expression of pain in your writing:

  1. Are your characters in pain because it is the natural or wise thing to embrace pain?
  2. Is there is a place in your story where the characters are pushing through or creating pain unnecessarily?
  3. Do you eliminate pain too quickly in your stories?
  4. Is there too much pain in your novel that also makes it unrealistic?
  5. Are your characters addicted to pain?
  6. Are there any characters that are destined for pain?
  7. How do you typically “resolve” pain in your stories?

Tomorrow, we’ll look at understanding how your characters deals with pain, can help you to structure your stories and writing more effectively in general.

Writing as a Form of Healing

A comment to one of my recent blogs inspired me to devote today’s blog about writing as a form of healing. If you’re reading this blog, I suspect you have a gift for writing words that heal. As you probably know, all the problems that healers regularly experience are also challenges for you as a writer, and a few more.

The nature of writing is different from many other forms of healing and requires some different ways of recharging our healing gifts.  One challenge that we have as writers is the inability to have our healing gifts flow through our words.  We generally give this challenge a name — writer’s block.

Most writers experience writing blocks at one time or another. You may experience a block every time you attempt to write.  I find that certain kinds of writing have their own timings and cycles as well, and that some blocks are really incubation times.  You may know of many ways of working through or with your writing blocks.

Writing blocks can also happen because we know that we have a powerful message or story that wants to come through us, and yet we approach our writing as if it were all about our talent to write a good sentence or compelling story. Or we worry about how our writing will be received or our ability to get published.  We treat our writing as if it were a task to be completed rather than a sacred gift that is ours to honor and share.

Ultimately, our writing and other healing work are both different expressions of our personal unique healing energy that flows through us every day. This week, I’d like to offer some ideas on how you might work with your personal energy to help your writing flow more easily so that you can be the total healer you are meant to be in the world.

To get started, here are a few questions for your contemplation.  What would happen if you allowed yourself to wholeheartedly believe that:

  1. Your writing is another aspect of your healing work in the world, and you have a gift for writing?
  2. Your writing eventually is meant to be a healer in its own right that can heal people when you are not physically present?
  3. Your writing is a reflection of your unique personal energy, and your energy heals people?

Do not underestimate your gifts for healing as a writer.

In the next few days, I’ll be offering some ideas on how to play with your writing in a way that not only uplifts others, but uplifts your own energy as well.   Be kind to yourself and your own healing energy today.

Look forward to connecting with you again, soon!