How to use writing to know yourself better

Writers write for many reasons and in many ways. 

I use writing as a process of self-awareness and self-discovery. 

What do I mean by ‘writing for process’? 

  • It is free flow unfiltered writing 
  • It is simply writing what is within you, your thoughts, emotions and voices
  • It is a journey deeper into self
  • Its allowing the thoughts in your head to be written down unfettered
  • It is simply getting everything that is circling and thrashing within to come out
  • It is about writing to reveal
  • It is writing to become aware of what is going on within me that maybe getting in the way
  • It is writing through ones heart, not head.  So that the way becomes clearer and is less interfered with my human needs and limitations.
  • It is writing as a channel for the best version of self to come forth
  • It is writing to become aware of the next steps to take

It is a way of:

  • Connecting with who I am
  • Of Understanding me better and what makes me tick
  • coming fact to face with my own falsities
  • Revealing parts of me that have been unconscious

It is where there is:

  • No set destination
  • No pre-determined outcome
  • No parameters
  • No timeframe
  • No formatting or editing 
  • No right or wrong 
  • No spelling correction 

My head gets so full.  Thoughts thrashing around.  Which way is up? Sometimes I don’t know.  I feel engulfed by my emotions and feelings.  Where am I in all of this?  So much internal noise.  It keeps me stuck constrained blocked and confused. 

Where am ‘I’ in all of this? How do I find ‘me’ in amongst the distraction?  I know the space I seek.  It is within me.  It is a still point in my centre.  Not a human physical centre but a place within me, from which all comes forth.  It is a centre, a portal a way through to my eternalness.  It is the place from which I connect to me, the planet, to creative source, to soul as spirit.  It gets clouded by the chitter chatter, the busyness of life and by my own ignorance. 

Whilst I do my best to ignore its existence it is the place that the answers lie.  It’s the way.   It’s the point from my which I live.  Its where I listen and hear the whisper of the universe, its where the guidance awaits.  I just need to be stop, be still, listen, receive and act. 

How do we reach this place?  For me writing as a process takes me to this place.

  • Create the space so you won’t be disturbed
  • Gather your tools
    • laptop (I suggest you don’t use a laptop, if you want to turn autocorrect and spell checker ‘off’)
    • pen and paper
    • canvas
    • whiteboard
  • Turn off your phone and laptop (if you are not using it)
  • Remove all distraction
  • Light a candle
  • Create a sacred ritual for communion

Whatever works and simply ask …

  • What is it that needs to come out?
  • What is it I need to hear? 
  • What is going on within me? 
  • What can’t I see? What do I need to see?

Ask the questions and wait.  It may take a while for words to come.  But be ready for when they do.  You are the scribe of your heart and head.  You are the channel from which this comes forth.   Allow.

You may need to build trust with yourself.  This can be a vulnerable and intimate process.  Be gentle don’t force build trust.  Hold the compassion for yourself.  In some moments bucket loads will come out , in others maybe just one or two sentences.  Whatever comes is right for that moment.

So ask, listen and write.  When it stops simply ask “what else?”  and repeat the process.  You are entering another layer, going deeper in.

And repeat, layer after layer, deeper and deeper in to that still point.  Your centre from which your creativity, your inspiration, your delicious way comes forth.  ‘She’ is there waiting.   

When you seek an answer go inward.  Write your way.

It’s about reading to review and gain insight. 

By writing it out what will be revealed to you? 

What to do with what is revealed?

  • You can read it back and take out the pearls.  Take them. Review. Reflect.  Leg go. 
  • Write a new script, one from your heart.
  • You can burn it through ritual and let it go with gratitude
  • You can rip it up and throw it out.
  • You can use it as a guide of what to look out for.

If you choose to read it back, do so with compassion.  The truth is within if you want to hear it.  You don’t need to keep the writings.  It’s about clearing your head so your heart can be heard.   Judging what you write will only block the process.  You need to create a safe and nurturing space from which you can hear the voices in your heart. 

Then ask yourself these questions

  • Who are these voices? 
  • Is it your voice or that of another? 
  • Is it an old parameter? Lens? Filter?
  • Is it an outdated condition that is in the way? 
  • Where are my limitations? 
  • What stories am I telling me about myself?  About my life? 
  • What am I playing like a broken record?
  • What new voices/ scripts do I need to write now?

Work with your words.  Move through the process.  You will arrive at a new place.  A place of less resistance,  a place reflective of who you truly are. 

Writing for process, to move through, to clear, to gain insight can take you deeper into you. 

It is about connecting with the unconscious within and bringing it to light.

Life as a writing process

8am is a tad early for attending a lecture on campus at Uni.  It doesn’t help when it is a cold wintry morning and the traffic was busier than usual on the freeway.  My body was fatigued before it even started.  With warm tea in my travel cup I walked wearily to the lecture hall.  I love walking onto Campus and this is what gets me out of bed at 5.30am on these Tuesday mornings to be here on time and taking my seat.  Ready to learn, expand my awareness and prioritise me.

Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

I was doing my best to wake my weary brain, listen to the lecturer, write notes and take in what he was sharing.   This lecture is for the unit I am undertaking on Creative Writing.  I am not overly creative at 8am in the morning, so I was simply trying to keep up in a logical manner.  Listen, scribe.  Listen scribe.   I could read it back later this I knew.  Later I could re-read, highlight notes and begin to integrate what he was sharing.  It’s a process that works for me.

This morning though as I was frantically scribing, something within me (not my head) was pulling it all together like a puzzle.  What was appearing in my mind’s eye was a blueprint for living. 

What was being shared about the writing process could be approached as a way to live.

Could I ‘write’ my life, not so much as with a pen and paper (although I do feel there is something in that to explore) was the process for writing a way to approach life?  Quite delicious to ponder. 

Here are some of the pearls shared that morning:

  • Writing is a messy business, don’t look for the neat and tidy.  One must surrender to the creative force and let those words come out.  It can’t be predetermined.  Neither can life.  Life gets messy.  Be okay with that.     
  • Writing isn’t done in one straight line.  The plot becomes clearer through the writing process.  It’s not all known from the first word you written.  Neither is life.  Whilst we may head towards  a goal or desired outcome, we will experience obstacles that lead us down other paths.   Go on the path you are on, stop wishing you were on another one.  
  • Writing is of chaos to order.     You have to get in it and keep moving, keep typing or writing and the way becomes clearer.  Life can’t be planned.  As much as we want to be in control.  The nature of life is not. 
  • One must be completely present in the now moment, to be the open channel for the words to appear, for the story to be birthed.  Same with life.  Be fully present where you are.  Accept where you are.  Live here.  
  • Writing keeps moving.  Writing begets writing.  You can’t think about it.  You need to get pen to paper, or your fingers moving on the key board.   Creativity requires movement.  Life is of movement.  As much as we may want to stay put, hide or contract when its gets hard and uncomfortable we need to keep moving. 
  • Progress is seen retrospectively with writing.  I feel this is true to the experience of life.  It is important to review, to reflect and see where we have come from, what we have moved through and overcome.  Celebrate where we are now. 
  • And this most delicious piece of advice write towards what I don’t know.  What a great way to engage with life.   Live towards the life that I don’t know.  Lean into it, be curious about where it takes me, whilst I can set a course a particular direction.  It’s important to be open to possibilities.
  • Finally; to write, we must show up.  How true for life.  Are you in the drivers seat?  Or are you a passenger?

Lectures start back this week, so whilst it is possible I will begrudge the alarm going off at 5.30am I am curious to be placed once more in an environment that feeds my soul and nourishing my mind.   

How could you ‘write’ your life?

Thanks to my lecturer Alan Hancock.