Some women think when they join my writing circles that I will be the fierce taskmaster to their reluctant inner writer. “If I don’t write,” they ask “will you pin me down to hold me accountable?” They think fear motivates. It does, until we rebel or find it just one more task we are kicking ourselves down the road to accomplish. That’s exhausting. All that waits for us at the end of that journey is burnout, rather than a creative piece of work that brings us alive.
However, I have found a much more powerful, kind and aligned way to motivate myself and others to write. It’s summed up in a line by David Campbell: Discipline is remembering what you want. When we connect the writing with what really matters to us, we re-inspire ourselves and motivation peaks.
I come back to this phrase over and over as the perfect tonic when lack of motivation ails me. One exercise I love is for a week I set a daily timer for five minutes and finish the prompt “I write because…” (or, you can get more specific and say “I’m writing my memoir, etc., because…) And each day something new pops up. I invite the women in my writing circles to do the same. What we find is that the power of re-remembering not only inspires us to action, but also connects that action to deeper purpose. We want to live a life of meaning, not just one where we check things off unending lists. Remembering our “why” does that.
So why do I write? One reason is to go from outward facing to inward facing. To go from taking care of others, responding to the world’s needs, interfacing on social media… to entering an inner sanctuary where my thoughts can be heard. It feels like an inner chair gets pulled up and a compassionate voice says “Speak, I care, I’m listening. Write drivel or daring or dirty… it does not matter. I’m here.” I walk away enlivened, refreshed, and more “me” than I was before. And when I get below the discursive thought, I often find a pearl… one that I can bring to the surface for all of us. That connects me to my purpose.
There are 100 other reasons why I write, but what’s important here is not why I write, but why YOU write (or paint or cook or do any other creative pursuit). If the reasons have gotten hazy, try re-remembering. Maybe you cook because it’s relaxing and how you show love for yourself and others? Maybe you paint to express something that doesn’t reveal itself any other way? Maybe you take photos to see the world more deeply, which makes life feel more vibrant?
Sometimes it takes a village to keep that fire of remembrance burning in the midst of daily demands and distractions. Other times we can find that inspiration on our own. Regardless, we all need to keep what we most deeply want in our lives front and center.
In case you have misplaced your why, here are the reasons a few other writers come back to it again and again…
“Because I want to rephrase the world, to take it in and give it back again differently, so that everything is used and nothing is lost.” – Nicole Krauss
“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” – Flannery O’Connor
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou
“Why one writes is a question I can answer easily, having so often asked it of myself. I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live. I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me — the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself when destroyed by living. That, I believe, is the reason for every work of art.” – Anaïs Nin
“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” – Anne Frank
“I write memoirs because I have a passionate desire to be of even the tiniest bit of help. I like to write about the process of healing, of developing, of growing up, of becoming who we were born to be instead of who we always agreed to be.” – Anne Lamott
“My ego, which was massive when I was younger, isn’t what drives me to write anymore. Writing straight into the truth feels like the only thing I want to do now.” – Kate Christensen
“Writing memoir not only has the ability to reveal me to myself, it also has the power to change me… Oddly enough, I find that the deeper I go into myself, the more I’m freed from myself.” – Sue Monk Kidd
So pause, reach into your heart, and listen for what you really want. Then share with us in the comments section at the bottom of the blog HERE.
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Women’s Inspired WRITING Circles
Sometimes we’ve just had enough of doing it alone. Enough of the loneliness, the doubts, the erratic forward and backward. We imagine instead the support of like-minded women. Laughter. And tools to get us back on track with our writing. If you are tired of doing it alone (or not doing it at all), consider joining us. A new writing circle is launching soon and there are two spots left. For specific details, email me; for general information, go here.
Creative Soul Seasonal Women’s Circles
Next series begins January 16, 2020
Looking for a place to fill your creative well with self-care, inspiring ideas, quiet time for reflection, journaling, and intimate, small group conversation? Then we’d be delighted for you to join us! These Circles always fill, so if you are interested in the upcoming season, get on the waiting list HERE to be among the first to hear when registration opens.
Spring Retreat in Taos: Greening the Creative Spirit
Mabel Dodge Luhan House
April 5 to 10, 2020
with Carolyn Scarborough and Sharon Zeugin
Unwind underneath the big skies and tap into your most alive, inspired and creative self at this special retreat in New Mexico. We will stay in the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, a rambling hacienda nestled between an Indian pueblo and the artsy village of Taos. Whether you are interested in art, writing, or inspiration in general, we invite you to join us. Nothing is needed but a desire to tap into your creative soul. For all the details, go HERE. (Note: Registration bonuses end on October 16, 2019.)