Here you are, going along in life, minding your own business, when all of a sudden you feel dissatisfied. You grow restless because something within is telling you there is SOMETHING MORE. The idea that you have something to say, to share, enters in. And once that seed takes root, you realize you will never be satisfied until you explore that inner utterance.
Yet there is so much noise in the world today. Between the ears and beyond, there is a constant chatter. So how does a person, a writer—for everyone who composes a text, blog, or email is a writer—learn to:
- listen to his or her own unique life
- awaken to intuition
- hone in on calling
- hear the outer voices and the inner (in the mind, body, spirit, and soul)
- follow the path that has the most energy around it
- overcome the obstacles along the way
- cope with aligning inner and outer worlds as writing becomes, in an ethereal way, inseparable from the life journey?
You Are Not Alone
The first thing to do is to rest in the knowledge that you are not alone. Millions have gone before you and left clues to help you navigate the journey. And, up close and personal, you have a fellow traveler with you, a companion. One who has trod this way before—and is still treading the path. You have me—an author, an editor, a coach, and a writer continually in progress. In the blogs that follow every two weeks, I will share with you my own obstacles, knowledge, life lessons, intuitive hits, and energy boosters as you embark with me upon a Writer’s Progress.
Yet Take Heed
But please keep one thing in mind: Each writer’s path and progress are as unique as a fingerprint. What works for me may not work for you. Or it may work one day, but not another. So do whatever catches your fancy. Yet whatever you do. . .
Be open. Be curious. Play with ideas. Try new things.
Let’s begin here and now. You are ready to explore. You are seeking to write. But you’re not exactly sure what to say, how to begin, what your main message may be, what your inner voice is prompting you to share.
So let’s start by developing an ear. Let’s talk about listening. Really listening. And listening always begins with silence.
A New World
When we learn how to cultivate silence, which writer Thomas Carlyle describes as “the element in which great things fashion themselves,” we begin to hear God speak, and the otherworldly re-creative act begins.
And when we enter into this silence, we find ourselves in a whole new world. In The Savage and Beautiful Country, Alan McGlashan writes:
Delight is a secret. And the secret is this: to grow quiet and listen; to stop thinking, stop moving, almost stop breathing; to create an inner stillness in which, like mice in a deserted house, capacities and awareness too wayward and fugitive for everyday use may delicately emerge. Oh, welcome them! For these are the long-lost children of the human mind. Give them close and loving attention, for they are weakened by centuries of neglect. In return, they will open your eyes to a new world within the known world, they will take your hand, as children do, and bring you where life is always nascent, day always dawning.
To cultivate the land of creative silence, go to the fertile ground of a quiet place. Use your phone timer, setting an alarm with a soothing ring tone that will, at some point (perhaps begin with five minutes), bring you back to “reality.” Next, to aid in centering yourself, close your eyes and begin the 4-7-8 relaxing breath (for a description of this technique, go to http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00521/three-breathing-exercises.html). Then, allow yourself to just rest in the inner stillness. And listen.
When your soothing timer goes off, pick up pen and paper, and write down any thoughts that have positive energy behind them, that peak your curiosity. If you have time, see where each thought leads. Be sure to write SOMETHING, even if it’s only one word. Each day or week, increase the amount of time you spend in the realm of silence. See what grows, what dawns, what writes itself.
Once you've tried exploring this creative silence, share your thoughts in the comments section below. Then, fellow writer, join me again here in two weeks to discover another intriguing step in a Writer’s Progress.