This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of preparing a lesson for our monthly writing workshop. I have to admit the feeling of being a teacher did not feel right but I did it because stepping out of your comfort zone is how you learn, progress and experience different areas in your life and passions.
I decided to do a lesson on self-reflection especially since I have been battling with writer’s block and thought it might be nice to get my fellow writers to take some time to look at them from the inside as our year starts to wind down.
Little did I know that everyone felt like they are at different places in their writing journey and needed some quiet reflection, thoughts and rejuvenation.
So….sitting in my chair, I shared these two exercises with my group.
Exercise 1: The Four Seasons
In the Bible, we learn in Ecclesiastes that everything has a season…a season to live, to die, to uproot, to plant, etc. and it made me realise that each writer goes through “seasons” (phases) in their writing.
In our writing, we find ourselves going through season too. Seasons of blossoming and motivation, seasons of flowing writing, inspiration and commitment and then there are our season where we lose interest, ideas disappear, emptiness and lack of anything to do with writing.
Try it for yourself:
Print off a picture of the four seasons of the year, and in your own words, describe what each season represents to you in your writing journey whether it’s over a long period or short period of time.
Now, hold it up and slowly discover which your best seasons for producing work are and which are your worst seasons where you need to allow yourself some breathing space.
This exercise is to make you realise that going through Seasons is fine and allow yourself to feel them, experience them and allow yourself to go through whatever that Season is bringing.
Seasons like we see outside our window, happens inside of us too and that’s okay! Just know that the season you are going through will change, will get better or maybe even worse but never stop trying, writing, experiencing and expressing yourself through your passion.
You are a writer no matter the season
TAKE A BREAK: Between these exercises, print off a colouring page of the four seasons and do some colouring therapy in between
Now, that you have discovered which season helps you produce the most work, it’s time to take a look at your bookshelf……
Exercise 2: Your Bookshelf
Every writer at some point has a bookshelf with books on it. Books from self-help to writing tips to novels to genres that they love reading inspire them and keep their passion for the written word ignited.
This exercise is to help you discover what writing is for you, what fears stop you from writing, what your writing should be, the things you love and what is on your top shelf.
To start, find a picture of an empty bookshelf that catches your attention and print it off. Alternatively, get creative and draw your own one. Your bookshelf needs to have five shelves.
Pick which is the top. On the top shelf, draw a picture of what your bestselling book cover looks including the title. Once you have done that, fold that section in half so you can’t see your book.
Now, start again at the bottom. Like everything in life, everything starts with having a foundation. On your bottom shelf, complete this sentence in your own words:
What is writing to you? When you say these two words, what is the first thing comes to your mind?
Now, re-read what you have written. This is usually what writing means to you and what made you decide to write in the first place, i.e. your foundation.
On the second shelf above this one, write down 5 of your fears. These fears do not have to have anything to do with writing. Just write down what scares you.
Lean back and read them. How many of these fears stop you from committing to your writing? Are any a metaphor for something deeper?
Next shelf up, complete this sentence:
Write all the things you love. Once again, they don’t have to have anything to do with writing. Allow yourself to express your love and passions on the page.
Look at all the things you love doing….how do these things inspire you to write, give you ideas to write about and/or even teach you along your writing journey? Sometimes our other passions filter into our writing passion which can help create great stories.
Lastly, the fourth bookshelf, before we look at the bigger picture. Complete this sentence:
My writing should be….
How would you like your writing to be? What should it be? Is your writing where you want it to be?
FINALLY, open the flap to reveal your bestselling novel again. Take a look at the picture from a far. Look at the bigger picture and ask yourself these questions:
Did I start off with a strong foundation?
How are my fears affecting me or hindering me to get that bestseller completed?
How can I use what I love in my writing and/or to inspire me to write?
Do I need to focus more on what I love and less on my fears?
Is my writing where I want it to be?
What can I do to climb my bookshelf to achieve my bestseller whether it’s only for me to be shared with others?
Writing will always be a journey filled with adventure, failure, successes and learning. Embrace it, let your fingers flirt across the page and enjoy every season of your journey.