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I was recently interviewed by Dawn Montefusco for her Writing from the Heart series. Not surprisingly, we found ourselves talking about writing from the head vs. the heart.
Sitting here at my computer, staring at my screen, it’s easy to drop into “head” mode. I started this blog post about writing from your heart and then realized I needed to bring more heart into it! Am I practicing what I preach?
Here are a few of my musings about writing from your heart and some tips for getting in touch with that.
On the call, Dawn and I shared how we both wrote poetry as children. I can remember a sort of luminescent feeling from my childhood, awakening in our summer house on Fundy Bay, before sunrise. I’d pull the string to my light bulb (no light fixture, just a bulb) and the heat of the light bulb hatched the housefly eggs that must have been laid in the ceiling above it. A majestic and steady stream of flies emerged and buzzed about.
As the houseflies came to life, I’d reach for a notebook or blank sheet of paper and write about the previously quiet pre-dawn house, the sun as it rose over the bay painting the sky shades of pink, purple and orange, my youthful pining for love. The act of writing from my heart filled me with euphoria, no matter the topic. I could have written about the houseflies and felt high!
Nowadays, in my mind, I’ve marginalized poetry. “No one will buy that.” “You can’t write poetry.”
I repressed my own inclination towards poetry so long that when someone comes to me looking for a poetry coach, something inside me judges the value of such an activity. Where does that voice come from? I love poetry! Writing poetry provided a lifeline during my adolescence and college.
I felt so alive when I wrote poetry.
Poetry buoyed me when I worked at a draining programming job in Boston, surrounded by men who didn’t know how to relate to a female co-worker and, therefore, said things that nowadays would make a human resources director run to the legal department. I’d write poems and my feelings of anger mixed with shame about the harassment drained away.
Recently, I’ve learned to embrace poetry again–for the pure joy of writing and for the instant connection it creates with my muse. And I discovered it’s also a wonderful entry point for any writing, in order to come from a more creative and heart centered space.
When you write purely from the head, you run the risk of:
So, how do you write from your heart?
Remain Curious: Be Open to not knowing everything about the writing. Sure, have a plan. That will help create a container for the movement. But then be open to change, and keep asking questions: What am I not seeing? The best writing comes from writing yourself into discovering a deeper truth or new perspective.
How do you tap into your heart’s message when you write? Please share your insights and ideas as a comment below.