Heal My Voice Author and former Board Member
Anyone who writes knows that there are times that the worlds flow like waterfalls and times when we find ourselves in the desert hoping to find that next oasis.
Not sure what to write about or how to get the words flowing? Here are 7 Ways To Jumpstart Your Writing This Summer:
- Read ~ You need to read to write.
As Stephen King says so eloquently, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” Summer’s a great time to read more – books, blog posts, poetry, magazines, the Sunday paper, etc. As you read, see what pops out at you, what inspires you and what types of writing you might like to explore. Make notes when ideas come to you for your own writing.
Also, you might want to add a book on writing to your summer reading list. Why not explore Stephen King’s On Writing – A Memoir Of The Craft or Natalie Goldberg’s latest book The True Secret Of Writing.
- Create a new journal for your writing.
Having a space to write that you are connected to really helps to get the words flowing. I know nowadays many folks like to type rather than write by hand, but there is a flow that can happen when we create our own sacred writing space. All you need is a new composition book or blank sketch book. Get some magazines and cut out images or words that inspire you. Grab a glue stick and design the cover of the journal and the inside pages, too, as inspiration and writing prompts. Here’s the cover of my recent journal to inspire you!
- Make an Idea Box for your writing
Write all of your ideas – for books, articles, blog posts or just phrases on separate pieces of paper. Place them in your idea box and add more as they come. When you are ready to write, just pick one at random or if you feel to lay them all out on the floor and see what bubbles up that day. Start writing! You may wish to review your ideas periodically to see if there are some that go together or certain themes arising.
- Start your day doing the “Morning Pages”.
This practice comes from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way – she calls them “a bedrock tool for creative recovery”. Morning pages entail writing three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind – and they are for you only. Morning Pages are meant to “provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize” the day at hand. The instruction is to not over-think Morning Pages – simply put three pages of anything on the page, then do three more pages tomorrow. Later you may want to go back and highlight or note anything you want to add to your journal or idea box.
- Start a blog or recommit to one you’ve already started.
If you haven’t started a blog yet, what’s stopping you? Summer may be the perfect time. Blogging is a great way to share your words and inspiration with the world. It’s also a great way to connect with other writers through the blogosphere and social media. There are lots of free, easy to use platforms to start your blog such as WordPress.com or Blogger.
Do you have a blog but seem to have forgotten about it? Maybe it’s time to recommit to your blog and your writing. Take some time to review, consider what changes you wish to make or what you would like your focus to be going forward. Is there a post you have written that has a second part or follow up piece? Maybe there is a series to develop or weekly post to keep the juices flowing. Also, consider joining a Blogging Challenge to connect with other bloggers for inspiration.
- List Writing.
This is a practice I use in some of my writing circles to get the words flowing as well as to explore a theme. Sometimes people feel too stuck to go straight to stream of consciousness style writing like the Morning Pages, but making a list is something we can all do. We do it everyday with our To Do Lists – so why not take a skill we’re well versed in and use it to stimulate our writing.
There are two ways to do this – one is to just do a download of all the words that come into your mind at any moment; the other is to pick a theme word such as “feelings” or even a specific feeling like “fear”, which may have come from the first list. Later, it can be easy to turn a word list into poem – here is one example by poet Ray Hansell,
Fear of conflict, fear of change
Fear that our lives
Will always stay the same
Fear of sickness
Fear of the dark
Fear in the heart
That we lost that spark
Fear of the unknown
Fear of something new
Fear is alive and well
Fear lives inside of you
Fear of being alone
Fear of suffering pain
Fear of not knowing
How to play life’s game
Fear of the future
For what it may hold
The fear inside some people
Knowing they will grow old
Fear of helplessness
When things are going wrong
Fear because you know
You’re not really that strong
The fear of never knowing
The fear of facing death
The fear of not knowing when
You’ll take your final breath
- Go out into nature and write.
Summer is a great time to connect with the energy of nature. Everything is growing and there is a sense of abundance. Also, if we consider the element of the season in Chinese Medicine – it’s Fire, which is the spark of creativity. Allowing our creativity to be expressed actually supports our overall sense of balance and well-being during the summer season. So get outside – walk in the woods, lay on the beach, sit in your garden and notice what you see, feel, hear, smell and observe. Wherever you go – bring your journal with you and see what words connecting with nature brings to you.
Beth Terrence is a Shaman, Holistic Health & Wellness Expert, Speaker and Writer. She is one of the HMV authors featured in Inspired Voices: True Stories of Visionary Women and Harmonic Voices: True Stories Of Women On The Path To Peace. Additionally, Beth is the facilitator and program developer for a Heal My Voice program that brings writing and creativity to women in addiction recovery at Chrysalis House in Crownsville, MD. She writes regularly on her own blog, The Heart Of Awakening: Searching For A New Paradigm, an online resource for transformation and healing. Beth is available for Integrative Transformational Healing Sessions by Phone/Skype or in person in Annapolis, MD as well as classes, workshops and trainings on Holistic Healing, Transformation, Writing and Creativity. To learn more, visit http://www.bethterrence.com