Sunday night inspiration

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There are times when we just don’t know what the heck we want to write about or what we feel for that matter. We know there is an emotion rising in us that’s desperately seeking an outlet. It could be anger, fear or something that we don’t even understand ourselves until we write it out.

We can become pissed off with at thought of writing then annoyed at ourselves for not doing anything about it and before we know it, its late Sunday night and we have work and the school run tomorrow and if we don’t do it now it’ll be too late…aarggh!

I’ve had a weekend like that.

Procrastination. Big time. Being a rebel, (I don’t even want to write) being a critic (it’s all rubbish anyway!)

Then I remember. Making a start, is a start. And like anything its getting started that is the difficult part. So what I do is create a writing prompt, then free-write and see where that takes me. It normally leads me back to that pesky emotion that has been rising up inside.

Here are a few for you to try;

  • The suitcase remained closed in the corner of the room…
  • A blue flashing light caught my eye…
  • He opened his mouth to tell me something and then stopped himself…
  • It tasted foul like it had been lying out for hours…
  • I heard them whisper about me…
  • The strange clanking noise continued…

Writing even just a few sentences on one of these prompts (or more if you have the time) releases the pressure we put on ourselves to write. We can pursue where the prompt takes us or use it as a way of loosening ourselves up, like a warm-up to get on with what we are really writing about.

pexels-phototugl0ttfPrompts are also great resources for future pieces of writing. There has been many a time I’ve remembered, or went back over some of my free-write pieces and used them as inspiration for a character or storyline.

Because that emotion that you have inside of you, no matter what it is, seeks an outlet and letting it out on the page creates an emotive piece of writing.

 

 

 

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The beauty in writing and sharing

Sometimes, doing certain creative writing exercises can uncover past hurts, past truths, hidden ‘other-lives’. I found this to be true recently whilst developing writing exercises for a women’s workshop which I’ll be hosting in January. I believe that working over and over again through exercises allows me to do the work that I expect others to do.

That means showing up authentically and vulnerably on the page.

(Which can be scary)

Yes writing down these exercises in private in a journal can be emotional enough but putting them out there for others to read? That is laying yourself bare. Which is how I chose to do things now.

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So, for this writing exercise I created a timeline of major events in my life and then chose one to free-write on. Using creative writing techniques I then worked on crafting the free-write into a small piece of writing. I found it surprising what I wrote about. A past distant memory, brought back to the surface. You may think that leaving these memories well alone is the more sensible thing to do; then we don’t risk the emotion that arises with it.

But in doing this, that memory still resides within us, bubbling away with the others under the surface. Writing about it releases it. Yes I cried. Yes I felt pissed off. Then I felt calm. I’m not saying this will always be the response but sometimes our memories, our hurts just want to be heard.

Here is my perfectly imperfect free-write in the process of being crafted into a piece of prose.

‘The Waiting room’

He spread the food out over the duvet trying to make up for it. I remember the smell of acrid vinegar from the jar of crinkle sliced beetroot that he had twisted clunk open. The tin lid had popped, sounding like the noise my Grandpa’s cheek made when he flicked it with his finger. Pop goes the weasel.

I remember that I’d felt euphoric, happy even; it must have been the drugs. The nurse told me that I’d sat bolt upright when I’d woken up and I’d called out his name. I try not to think of all the things that must have happened.

But how can I forget the long curtains which were drawn and the sunlight shining through them, lighting up the swirling orange and brown pattern? They reminded me of the cover on the piano stool we had growing up. I remember it felt rough and had spiky bits like black needles coming out of it. Mum had said it was horse hair. An Asian woman caught my eye and looked at me like she knew; she knew. A large TV was on in the corner, with a semi-circle of women sitting in high backed chairs watching it. I could hear Bargain Hunt on. It was like an old folk’s home.

I felt he’d forced me. Told me his mum knew; she just knows these things, he’d said. I thought it would’ve made him stay. I had wanted it for all the wrong reasons. I realise that now but the sting of rejection had hurt. I thought his family would accept me and we’d visit them on Sunday afternoons for crisp roast potatoes and buttery chicken. I could almost taste it. Almost.

The doctor had told me that I had caught something. Did that mean what I thought it meant? I couldn’t face it. I remember stepping into a red call box; the door was heavy and inside the smell made my nostrils shrivel. I had to call a friend. A distant friend. Had to tell someone.

That jar of pickled beetroot and sweaty smoked cheese could not compensate. They would never fill the gap in my stomach.


 

This short piece may not make much sense yet, but it could be developed into something more, or it could even be included into a future story. That’s the beauty in just even starting to write.

We just have to let out what is inside of us through various writing triggers and prompts and then see where it takes us.

For now it has felt like a little piece of sadness has flown off.

I’ve learned that as we attempt to teach others we learn more about ourselves along the way. That is the beauty in writing and sharing.

 

 

 

7 creative steps to heal old hurts

Like shedding an old layer of skin that no longer fits, when we allow ourselves to grow and heal inside we release a dead part of us that we have been clinging on to. Some of us (myself included!) walk around with these old skins in an attempt to keep ourselves safe and small; to avoid the temporary pain of growth.

We don’t dare to let ourselves deal with certain things, situations or people as we would lose part of our identity which we have been subconsciously holding on to.At other times we are desperate to rip it off and like a scar that hasn’t quite healed and then we bleed.

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It is only through telling our stories that we grow and heal and can unpeel that old layer that has been holding us back. We are no longer trapped or forced to stay small in ways of being that no longer fit. We can unpeel that old suit and step out of its non-serving constraints. 

Here are 7 steps to help you heal –

1.Write it out. Free-write for 3 pages on the person, incident, memory that upsets you. (you can come back and do this exercise over and over again for whatever situation still triggers or hurts you). Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, creating paragraphs or if it is coherent. Be as free as you can. Swear, use capitals. Scribble, draw, score through words. Get it all down on paper.

2. Grab some cushions or pillows and set a timer for 3 minutes. Allow the feelings that arose from your free-write to stay at the surface really feel them, don’t swallow them down. Release the anger, sadness, fear, pain onto the cushions. Punch them, bash them, hug them; cry into them.    

3. Take 10 deep breaths in and out, breathing deep into your stomach. Try now to feel some compassion and forgiveness for the person, situation, or memory (it could even be yourself you have to forgive) See the person as a little innocent kid who didn’t know any better. Hug the pillow or cushion as if you are hugging a child and tell them you forgive them, that you love them, or even that you are willing to forgive them.

4. Write a letter to the person who hurt you. Write from the age where the hurt happened for instance;

   Dear Daddy, I am so upset tonight. You came and asked for my pocket money so you could go out drinking. Then left me at home alone. I feel so… (fill in how you feel) 

5. Take your free-write (from 1.) and rip it up and flush it away or burn it. Tell it you no longer need it and you are releasing it to the Universe. 

6. Using the following prompts, write a paragraph on each. 

  • Now that I am free I can…
  • I am so grateful now that I can…
  • I learned so much from what happened and now I can help others by…
  • I feel like a new person who can now…

 7. Now imagine yourself unzipping a suit of old dried up skin take each take each arm out, then step each leg out of it. Watch as it crumples to the floor. (You can give it a little kick if you want to!) Now gather it up in your arms and scrunch it hard, keep scrunching it until it is a tiny ball, then until it has gone, disappeared, evaporated into the Universe. 

 

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 Do you feel fresh, new, a little revitalised?

Like you have now become more of who you are, no longer hidden or constrained.

By combining writing with healing we can become braver in our lives, be more willing to trust and connect with others. I know this has been true for me. Following these steps has allowed me to step out of old stories I was telling myself. It has made me stand up for myself more and not let the past dictate the here and now.

It can do the same for you, let me know how you get on with these exercises. I’d love to hear from you!