Have you ever tried writing when it’s felt less like flow and more like… pushing play-doh through an extractor? That’s how I felt a few days ago. I sat down to write my newsletter and words came out in messy clumps on my paper. Nothing fit together, and nothing felt easy.
Luckily, I’ve been writing long enough to know that there’s always a better way. I could doggedly stick with my plan and force out the words… or I could step back and tune in.
So, I started getting curious about why the writing wasn’t coming more easily. As I mindfully folded clothes, I noticed an achiness in my body and a tightness in my forehead. Thoughts were racing through my brain. As I slowed down my breathing and watched my thoughts a bit, bingo, there it was.
I’ve been opening my coaching practice into some new and untested areas, stretching the boundaries of where I’ve been and taking interesting turns at places. So, when I sat down to write, what showed up was confusion (What direction am I going, What else am I meant to be?) and old marching orders (Write about this writing topic that’s been on your list for weeks). With all this murkiness about what I really wanted to express, no wonder I couldn’t write!
I also realized that my “buzz” wasn’t going to come from any of the tired topics I had planned to write about. As I did some breathing, the words appeared — Beginners Mind. I was trying to force writing from places I’d been, instead of writing from the freshness of where I was standing in the moment. Where I was standing was in the midst of transition, which can be seen as negative and stressful or the precipice of something exciting. In that moment, being an expert held little interest to me. As Zen Master Shunryo Suzuki says, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”
Being an “expert” felt boring, and my writing reflected that. Even worse, it sounded artificial — like I was talking about something from a part of me that wasn’t authentic. What felt so much more inviting and freeing in that moment was to release all that and give myself permission not to know. To just write from “here I am and who knows what will come out.” I trusted that the right message would appear – for me and my readers. As soon as I did that, the writing began…
At times, we all find our creativity clogged with old thoughts and habits. Perhaps it’s time to get the Drano and clear the pipes?
What in your life are you ready to release? What identity/habit/thought have you held onto for so long that it’s become boring and flat and inhibits you from full expression? What would happen if you approached your writing with beginner’s mind, being fully in the moment and noticing what bubbles up?
As founder of Backyard Pearls, LLC, Carolyn Scarborough helps people tap into their inner wisdom, then share it with the world through books, blogs and articles. As a Writing Wisdom Coach, she supports you through the journey from inspiring idea to published piece in a way that’s joyful, effortless and profitable.
She’s done almost every kind of writing imaginable, including magazine features, newspaper columns, books, journaling — even ghostwriting for Donald Trump! Her favorite sort of writing is the kind where she has to be really present to find the story, so her life and writing are both a constant awakening to a deeper, richer way to live in the world.
To subscribe to Backyard Pearls Newsletter, visit the site here.
Request your complimentary “Getting to Know You” session to start turning your inner whisperings into a published book, blog or article.
You may reprint the featured article, in its entirety, by including a byline and the following information: “Carolyn Scarborough, The Book Whisperer, helps people tap into their inner wisdom, then share it with the world through books, blogs and articles. You can get a free audio on overcoming writers block by clicking HERE.”