Writing with intuition and spiritual consciousness requires far more skill than ego-energized work. Of course, that’s true of any honest endeavor.
Knowing oneself and creating from that knowledge — no matter what the work is — means being true to that Self. When that occurs, the work reflects the who we are as an expression of Spirit. Many others may not recognize that, but the laborer will know it. Even when I was a construction painter, lab tech, antique restorationist, or other jobs I had, I put my soul’s passion into it. I knew the difference.
Thinking back to my previous post, I used the metaphor of stocking a kitchen pantry with ingredients to have on hand to prepare a savory meal of written work, one that appeals first of all to the writer and then to the reader.
I suggested a very specific ingredient-gathering technique of brainstorming mountain peak, mountain base, and mountain path experiences. Engaging in that exercise stores up some fairly nice ingredients in your writing pantry. Anyone who wishes to explore Self and discover how to express that Self through words now has basics.
Here is how I use such lists, explorations, and discoveries to tap into my intuition. In addition, the exercises I describe here move me closer to conscious creative expression. If facing the challenge of writing an article or simply trying to make some sense of my life, the first thing I do is look over my brainstorm lists.
I clear my mind and soul by closing my eyes and state my intention of exploring a subject for writing and expressing Self. Then, I simply breathe, meditation-style, deep breaths in through the nose filling all the way down to my legs, hold for a second, then blow the air out through my mouth — maybe six or seven times.
I give thanks for my life, for what I’ve experienced and recorded in the list I am going to scan. Then, I open my eyes and peruse the ingredients. Hmmm? What do I feel like making? What looks good? I circle two or three items that resonate with me. However many I choose, I go through the following process.
I look at my circled choices and grab one of them. Sometimes, one stands out, and I know which one I’m going to explore — just like I did with this series. I have several other things I know I could use, but this one, for whatever reason, made me start salivating. Maybe because I’m an educator. Maybe because I sense the applications beyond encouraging other writers. Maybe because I know from my classroom teaching years these exercises may be really therapeutic.
I chose this topic for today. Then, I did this: I spent about three minutes — some people like to time themselves — doing what I call a directed freewrite. A true freewrite has no boundaries, but here, there is a suggestion — my own choice from my list. I write by hand; that is my personal preference. However, writers do this, they should not stop. If I actually hit a wall and can’t stay that split second ahead of my hand with my thoughts, then I start writing questions: “What else do I have to say?” “Who is involved?” “What did I actually see?” Or a hundred other possibilities until something shoots from my brain to my fingers.
At the end of that directed freewrite, I read it. I pick the most interesting sentence, and I give it another go and see if I left other aspects unexplored. I don’t always do this in the same sitting.
This whole process is like playing with a recipe development. What spices of sensory images, drama, statistics, or a million other possibilities could help in making this a guest-worthy dinner? I did this exact thing before beginning this series. The techniques I describe are all known tools to most writers, especially teachers of writing. I thought my metaphor of a stocked pantry for developing a recipe to a final creation had a good flavor.
Once I go through this process, I might let it rest for a day or two. Depends on how I feel about it. For now, I will leave this process and technique description.
Before I stop, I would mention that this prewriting journaling helps many people take a look at many aspects of their lives. Sometimes, it helps them to evaluate their emotions about certain incidents and individuals with whom they may have had positive or negative interactions.
I know this because not only do I find it true for myself, but also I have had scores of students, maybe hundreds, who reacted so forcefully to their own work that I spoke with them privately or referred them to school guidance counselors and sometimes brought in parents.
This stuff works. Exploration of the soul-scape. Discoveries of lurking shadow selves. Inspirational and motivational epiphanies. Tapping into the Heart Self, that highest Self, and spicing up your life may cause you to write with new perspectives. New lenses through which you view the rest of the world may propel you to becoming a great word chef.