I promise these are writing strategies that work…
…only if you do them.
These strategies might feel uncomfortable and awkward at first, but so does being born. And that didn’t stop us, did it?
Both writing strategies involve a wall, which everyone has or can find. Any wall will do! Nothing special there.
After you’ve learned the practice, you’ll be able to IMAGINE a wall, but it helps at first to have a physical wall to use.
Strategies that work: Being Seen
Sit in front of the wall. Elevate your hips on a support or cushion if your knees are annoyed right away. Feel or imagine a tall spine and the dignity you were born with.
Relax your shoulders (always).
Imagine the wall is looking at you. It can see you. Its eyes are the warm accepting eyes of a grandparent, or any adult who cares for you immensely. If you don’t have an adult like that in your life, invent one, or imagine your ancestor, or a really loving person in a movie.
Your only job is to let yourself be seen. Keep relaxing. Don’t try to hide anything from the wall– it’s just a wall!
When you feel done, get up, but don’t feel the need to snap out of it.
What if the people in your world could really see you? What would they see?
Strategies that work: Breathing Fully
Start the same way: sit in front of your wall as comfortably as possible.
Imagine the wall has a mural on it. Imagine the coolest, most vivid mural you can think of, or look one up, first, so you can have a bright image in mind.
But just one problem: this mural has somehow become covered over in dust and funk!
As you inhale, imagine and truly feel that you are slowly drawing a layer of dust off the mural, revealing a gorgeous, exciting piece of art.
As you exhale, imagine that you are scattering the dust, revealing more of the art.
Breathe in very slowly, so none of the dust goes up your nose: you are just clearing space.
Breath out gently, so that the layer of dust is scattered lightly: you are just clearing space.
Keep your focus on your breathing as the mural is revealed.
What do you see?
Maintain the rate and quality of your breathing as you look at what is in front of you.
When you feel done, you’re done. But make sure you’ve really saturated yourself.
After we relax, sometimes our ideas open up. Find a place and space to write, and begin with describing what you imagined during your exercise. How did it feel to be seen? Did you think the whole time it was BS? Did you drop into a more loving space? What did you see when you cleared the dust from the wall?
As you keep writing, get onto the page whatever your mind comes up with. Wherever you started stops mattering.
Keep going until you feel tapped out. Then stop. You have nothing to prove.
This is a time of need for many of us.
This is a time when many of us are hurting, old hurts and new hurts. That’s true, AND there is beauty– if not in your actual life, then in your imagination.
Your job as a person, artist and writer is to uncover it, explore it, bring it forward.
Or at least take care of yourself, to feel better.
Feedback can help us keep going
Contact us if you need a reader for your writing, or fast feedback, or some help figuring out where to go. We can help you find the small, alive thing in your words.
We offer new Essay Intensive writing students free feedback on a freewrite of choice, so contact us for yours. You can paste your writing in the message body!
Who knows– this could be the beginning of a meaningful personal essay.
And definitely keep being loving to yourself. It’s hard enough to be alive.