We did a little writing exercise in last week's Monthly Mindset call inside The Open Book Community.
It was a timed ten minute writing exercise and we used Natalie Goldberg’s “rules” from her book Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within.
(1) Keep your hand moving
(2) Don't cross out
(3) Don't worry about spelling, punctuation
(4) Lose control
(5) Don't think. Don't get logical.
(6) Go for the jugular (Dive in to things that seem scary or naked)
The only catch? This wasn’t just any ol’ free-write. I gave a prompt. The prompt was: “Positive Things About My Writing.” The timer was set and off we went. I didn’t know what to expect for myself, nor did I know what everyone else would experience.
The timer went off and we checked in. A few folks expressed surprise that they were able to write positively about their writing for that long. A few of us - myself included - found ourselves meandering from the positive to the critical. As the assignment called for, I didn’t judge or cross anything out. I simply wrote my way back to the prompt and kept digging for more positive things. (I did find them!)
Candidly, I started with the bold: I like my writing voice.
I moved on to the absolutely banal: I think I generally have decent grammar and good spelling.
I talked a bit about sharing my writing, my journaling experience and then wrote a bit about what I want to do more of/better/more consistently.
I circled back to my writing practice itself. I love the experience of taking a blank page, adding in words like puzzle pieces dropped on a table and then finding ways to put them together. Seeing that happen - it does dazzle me a bit every time.
I found this practice beneficial for two reasons.
#1 - We’re often really focused on the writing of our content itself. The article. The pitch. The chapter. The book proposal. The social content. The blog post. It’s nice to take time to step back every once in a while and think about what we’re actually doing and celebrate how we’re showing up when it comes to our writing.
#2 - Just ten minutes of reflection on this topic can provide very unique insights around your inner critic and your inner cheerleader. For me, personally, I found a renewed sense of inspiration after completing the exercise - and from hearing what others wrote as well.
I encourage you to take a few minutes to try out this practice. Writing down on a piece of paper is ideal, but a mental reflection while driving to the grocery store or walking to the park can be effective, too.
We spend a lot of time thinking about what we could be doing better or differently.
This weekend, I invite you to think about what’s positive or going well when it comes to your writing and/or your writing practice.
Happy Writing, Kim
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