How to Start Writing
And where we're gonna begin guys is the number one shadow that starts to come up. This number one expression of avoidance. It's how to start writing it all. Where to begin. Alright. Sound good? Ready to dive in? Ready to get heavy again? Let's take a collective breath. You can just be as you are sitting up nice and tall, inhaling through the nose (heavy breathing). Exhale it a go. Ha (heavy breathing). Thank you. Alright. So where to begin how to start writing at all. This is the foundational level of writer's block. When you're stuck, you can't get started again. Very frustrating situation. How do we get started? Here's some of the scripts that I tend to hear writers expressing to me, my writing clients. When they don't know where to begin. How to get started. Number one, I don't know where this is going. You guys ever said this about your writing? You kind of think big picture. You're getting visionary about it, and you're like I don't know if this is like even really worth it. How a...
bout, we referenced this earlier. That... Writing maybe inserts some uncertainty into your life. All you're trying to do is sit there. Maybe while the kid's napping. Maybe after a long day of work. And you sit down and you suddenly think that, am I opening a can of worms? Is this like is this really a good thing? Whether it's the content of your writing. The story, the project. So you have... I don't know where this is going. I can't for sure if this will be worth it. And I worry that this will create uncertainty in my life. So to turn it over to you guys again. Has anybody said these things about your writing in the past? Maybe recently? So nodding heads. Can I get a show of hands just so I can kind of see? Cool yeah, about like 80% of the room. And if these things feel like really resonant to you, I'd love to pass the mic around, and actually get like a 30 second overview of if this is your shadow. If you feel like this is like you're getting started or you're getting restarted shadow, has been following you around, maybe you could tell me a little bit about what you're going through, or what you have gone through in the past. Any takers?
I come from a very conservative family background, and so a lot of my writers I wrote, I write about my life, I don't write fiction, I write nonfiction, I write poetry, I write stories. So my whole life I've been afraid that I'll write something that'll offend my family because I'm very close to them, and I'm still very close to them, so finding that balance is tough. And I know that I'm going to start writing stories that some people are not going to like, and so can you speak to that?
Absolutely, that's exactly what we're going to speak to so that's a great point, and this is something that typically happens for a lot of writers, especially when you're concerned, and it's a good feeling to have because it's coming from a place of love and care, and happens a lot with memoir writing, and nonfiction writing, it happens a lot when you're speaking your truth, and expressing yourself, in a wide range of topics. You don't want to just wildly start offending the people closest to you. But also, you're called, aren't you? You're called, that there's a bigger, there's a bigger responsibility that you feel. And it's beyond the offensiveness (laughs) of it. To family members and friends, it's a really hard dilemma. And this guys, is the shadow of basic fear. And here's the important part, I'm going to introduce you to Maslow's hierarchy going to remind you bring you back all the way to psych 101, but typically, when we as creatives, and as writers experience a teaching or recommendation around fear, what are you usually told? You're told to stop being afraid. You say that you're expressing some fear, some concern and says, well, just be fearless. You're afraid, be fearless guys, do it, go for it, jump, the net will appear, and you're like that doesn't really work with my family, reading my poetry and being like what the hell, what are their friends and family going to think if that's your concern, so, I want to take you back like I said to psych 101, and the yogis in the room, this will also hearken to the chakra system. When we're just trying to get started in our writing, to develop a healthy lasting relationship to writing, to find like a real foundation upon which we can rise up, and create these bigger expressions, you know, the books, the blog posts, creating a legacy of work, you know, like the really, the things that a lot of writing advice tends to focus on, the outcomes and the goals, and the followers and the book deals. Before we get to this high place, with these big expressions of writing, you kind of just have to start with Maslow's hierarchy, in these basic needs, food, water, shelter, safety and security. This hearkens to the first chakra for the yogis out there. And this of course, we're talking about human psychological development, not necessarily writing, but the two really walk hand in hand. Any kind of form of self expressive practice, any form of mastery that you want to develop, expertise, before we start talking about how to develop 10,000 hours of dedicated practice to become an expert, like a lot of advice tells you to, like you have to think about how your words may effect your home environment. The people closest to you, and this is why getting started or getting restarted or really embracing answering the call to write to your heart's content, feels so daunting it's not because you're a coward. It's not because you're afraid to say those things, it's because you're a human being, who's very aware of what else could happen in your life and disrupt your very root, the foundation of your existence, frankly. Especially if it comes to family and friends, partners, how many of you have had the experience of like maybe trying to anonymize your writing, writing under a pen name so that maybe work wouldn't find out, you know, like there's a lot of considerations, it's not because you're a coward, of course. But the fear, fearlessness conversation that tends to happen with writing almost implies that. And I really have a problem with that. Because this is basic, in human development, psychological development, and in this bigger, kind of like spiritual sent to self actualization, you've got to remember that your root comes first. Food water and shelter and if your words are actually going to disrupt how you earn an income, let's say you introduce your writing practice, all of a sudden and you have a significant other who doesn't understand it or doesn't value the arts or creativity, you might feel like that would create a wedge between you. There are all these very valid concerns. So what's the wrong approach when you're feeling like your creative food water shelter and safety, are possibly being threatened by your writing practice, if this is your manifestation of avoidance, the wrong approach is to fight it. The wrong approach is to fight against how you're feeling because how you're feeling is actually trying to help you preserve yourself. And preserve your, the certainty, and the control and the peace of mind, and the stability, the foundational support that exists already in your life. Typical writing advice tends to tell you the opposite, though, typical writing advice tends to tell you to ignore how you're feeling, to disregard what's going on in your life, and then if you're stuck you haven't gotten started in your writing, what kinds of things come to mind that is given to you as writing advice, how to get started again, how about word count goals? How about daily writing challenges? How about writing timers, that count down? So you're watching the clock, and watching the clock, how about apps and websites that literally flash color at you and shout curses at you when you stop typing, they actually exist. And guys, these are all manners of introducing more pressure, more anxiety, more instability, you're just adding (laughs) these feelings, that feel terrible and threaten your basic understanding of your foundational support, the roots upon which you can rise up, and ascend into these higher forms of self expression. What's the result, when you try to fight your writing, your writing fights back, you feel like her, our old friend. So why is this so, though, why is this the result? Because the fear shadow, so here's our chart again, the fear shadow, again, isn't just about you, it's not about you being a coward and afraid of saying the things that you have to say, thankfully we all live in a time where, a time and in a place where we have a lot of rights and privileges to be able to say quite a bit, and not fear persecution. Some days you kind of wonder. You know, things being what they are. But a lot of places in the world, there's actually you know, you have a visceral potential, potential imprisonment, potential prosecution, persecution, for saying what you feel called to say. But just in the here and now, when we're not facing the law, basic feelings of uncertainty, instability, anxiety, pressure, these are the feelings that feel really unpleasant when you just sit down and try to write on a given day, and coming back to the page, we understand why the big shadowy monster of writer's block keeps coming back, because you're sitting down to write, you have the best intentions, and you're feeling like you're triggering all this insecurity and all this worry. But, if we invert this shadow, what's the potential? Well, if it's fear and uncertainty, instability and anxiety, that are causing this avoidance, this manifestation of writer's block, the potential is that we use our writing to become a source of trust, and comfort, and sturdiness and self support, that's the potential. So how do we actually find that, how do we develop self support in our writing? That's what I want to give to you guys, in this first step today. So although you may say to yourself, I don't know where this is all going, I don't know if this will be worth it, I don't know if this is going to create more uncertainty in my life, the potential, the positive potential, is to say that, my writing, the act of writing, the practice of writing, my relationship to writing as a whole supports me here and now. And that's enough. So if we can create our relationship to writing that provides us with self support, nurturance, a foundation, maybe our world around our writing, off the page can actually benefit from our writing practice, how many of you feel that when you're in a writing groove, personal journaling especially, that's my jam, is the personal journaling side, how many of you feel like you're just like, a better person? (laughs) Do you feel that way? Yeah. You feel like you're, I mean, shout it out at me and I can give it back to the microphone, but how do you feel when you're in a writing groove, and you feel like you're, what?
Nourished, more yourself. Feel like there's less of the crazies going on, maybe you have like a little bit more of a rhythm? It just makes everything easier. So why wouldn't that benefit your workplace, your relationships, your family? It's self care. So if it supports you here and now, that's enough. And here's my solution, this is how we're going to deal with the first shadow of avoidance, this fear shadow. Is by making writing your home.