September 11, 2012

How I nudge people

I received a lovely email today from someone looking for a nudge with his own writing.

Here's one resource I return to over and over again when I need help getting started with a writing project.

I really appreciate Natalie Goldberg's take on writing in her book "Writing Down the Bones." She discusses how we must approach writing with "beginner's mind," basically leaving ourselves open to whatever happens on the blank page. She also has several wonderful exercises you can use for freewriting, which is simply a set time when you write without stopping to cross out (or backspace, if you're on the computer). The goal is to write freely without censoring yourself or your ideas.

In working with people who want to write, I often use one simple technique Goldberg teaches. If you feel stuck, simply write or type the words, "What I really want to say is ..." and then complete the sentence. This technique works especially well if you've set a timer for, say,10 minutes and are freewriting as fast as you can physically write or type -- and then you hit the proverbial wall. Type or write, "What I really want to say is ..." and you'll be amazed at the truth that appears before you.

What I really want to say is ... that writing can be painful, joyful, scary, exhausting and rewarding and is the most fun when it's shared with others.

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