Writing Practices to Inspire You When You're Stuck
These three books offer guidance in getting words on the page, so you can benefit from the healing power of writing.
As a writer, getting blocked can be one of the most frustrating feelings. The more you try to get words on a page, the bigger the block becomes. In those times, it can helpful to have guidance.
Whether you are writing to heal, or writing for self-understanding, sitting with a blank page before you can be daunting. These three books offer guidance in getting words on the page, so you can benefit from the healing power of writing.
In Daily Writing Resilience, Bryan Robinson offers an entire year’s worth of thoughts on writing. Many of his suggestions involve the helpful mindsets and practices for keeping going, even when you feel stuck as a writer. Early in the year, he suggests that you “uncage your voice” by letting your readers feel your “passion and vulnerability.” As a takeaway, he offers, “Dedicate yourself to the passion of writing, not awards or approval, and you will free your own original voice, your story will be told, and you’ll be heard.”
Winter, spring, summer, and fall are what delineate the year in Albert Flynn DeSilver’s book Writing as a Path to Awakening. Each season calls forth an experiential aspect of writing. In early spring, DeSilver speaks to the idea of “emergence” and how it “means sticking with the practice long enough until you’ve experienced a sense of improvement, growth, and even transformation.” As a free writing exercise, he suggests carrying a camera around with you and taking photos of anything that speaks to your senses. Then, “free write for at least twenty minutes of each picture.” Begin with the picture itself, and then expand into what’s beyond the photo, the story of the photo, how it came to be what it is. His final encouragement, “Have fun and enjoy watching your amazing images, ideas, and insights emerge!”
The focus of Diane Case’s Write for Recovery: Exercises for Heart, Mind and Spirit is on using writing as a way to understand your emotions. Case explores the four elements as a framework for our emotions. Rage comes under the element of fire, and she recognizes the destructive and consuming nature of anger that is unresolved. As a way to understand the anger, Case suggests noticing where in your body you feel the anger, then write a letter to who you are angry at. She insists, “say anything you like—express your feelings wholeheartedly—for afterwards you are going to take the letter and burn it.” She then suggests exploring how you express your anger, and if there might be a healthier way to do so. She asks, “how would you feel without your anger? Lighter? Empty? Is your anger serving any purpose?” As a final step, she suggests writing about something that makes you angry, but from the other person’s point of view.
Writing can help us unlock places of ourselves that remain hidden from us in other ways. The transformative and therapeutic nature of putting pen to paper is profound and worth exploring from many angles.