Welcome, fellow writers here to explore curious writer’s tools that step out of the confines of spell checkers and word processors. But if you want more conventional tools, feast your eyes on this blog too.
Today, we consider tools every writer absolutely, positively, and undoubtedly needs! Trust me, I am a writer, and I know these things…
The Heart As A Writers Tool
First and foremost, let's talk about the heart. No, I'm not referring to the anatomical organ that pumps blood through your veins (although that's essential for staying alive and, thus, writing). It is also the emotional heart and a chakra (energy point).
To be a writer, you need to have a heart full of passion, empathy, and feelings that can be poured onto the page. Writing is about connecting with your readers on a deeper level, and your heart is the compass that will guide you.
But how many of us consider the heart beyond the pump and connect with its infinite wisdom? Because I love all things chakras and especially the heart it's my go-to place when I journal or write. I can feel it guiding me or nudging me to slow down and tune in.
What are chakras?
The chakras are energy points or centres in our bodies in and out of which energy flows. In Sanskrit, chakra means wheel, so you could imagine them as spinning wheels or vortexes of energy. Just as you have memories stored in your brain, your chakras are mini data centres where everything that has happened to you is stored.
Each centre houses specific experiences. How cool is that to have your own mini you library stored in areas of your body? I also believe that they hold keys to our future selves too.
Just as we have a physical body, chakras can be likened to our spiritual body. Each one acts like a window to the soul and will feed information back to you about the state of your health and life.
Each chakra's health and energetic vibration is influenced by the energies surrounding you and the energy you project from your thoughts and feelings. This shows up in how you feel and experience life.
Journaling and your chakras
Journaling brings the energy of your heart and soul to the paper. The more you journal, the more you will form good energy habits. The habits you form consume large quantities of energy. If you cultivate good habits, that energy will stay healthy and provide a powerhouse for your new life.
Your journaling will connect you to the data contained within your chakras. I call this everywhere energy, the energy superhighway. Practising journaling, gratitude, affirmations, and visualisation while being connected with your chakras will raise your vibration and help to open and balance your chakras.
This practice can attract abundance, happiness, health, peace, love, meaningful relationships, and other positive attributes into your life. Even more reason to write from your heart.
The heart chakra - Love and the right to love and be loved
The heart chakra or energy centre is the centre for love, and this energy centre will help us to create a heart connection and support our writers' journey.
The heart chakra is located behind the breastbone in front and on the spine between the shoulder blades in the back. This fourth energy centre is about love, self-love, compassion, forgiveness, understanding, empathy, kindness and connections to other’s hearts. It is connected to your relationships with family, lovers, friends, and animals. When you feel on the same wavelength with someone, it is because you have a heart connection.
When the heart chakra is healthy, you feel the love flowing through your life and will think about how you give and receive love. You feel sincere gratitude and appreciation for your divine inner wisdom.
It is easy to work from the heart. With one hand on my journal and another on my heart, I pose my question or let my my go blank and wait. Hopefully, you’ll connect with your emotions and draw from your experiences, joys, sorrows, and loves. Working with the heart will infuse your writing with your emotional journey, and your readers will feel it, too.
Writing With Soul
Writing without a soul is like cooking without herbs or spices. You could end up with food that is bland and unappetising. Your soul gives your words depth, resonance, and a touch of the extraordinary. It's that intangible essence that makes your writing uniquely yours. Your soul is where everything that is you reside.
While some will try to pinpoint the soul in or outside the body. Some say it is in the heart, others the liver, maybe in the pineal gland. I like to think it is intangible, yet all of me, inside and out, past, present and future.
In writing, vulnerability and authenticity create the soul of your writing. Start with the heart and then connect with your soul essence. This is being true to your experiences, emotions, and reflections. Your words invite readers to connect with the depths of your identity, empathise with your joys and struggles, and gain insights from your unique journey - the ups, and downs, unicorns, fairies and monsters under the bed.
As you write, remember that your words' beauty lies in their ability to portray the complexities and intricacies of the human spirit. Yet another intangible part of you, which I like to think of as my spark - the thing that ignites who I am. So, write with honesty, vulnerability, and a deep understanding of who you are.
Don't be afraid to explore the depths of your soul; that's where the real magic happens. And be mindful that vulnerability and authenticity do not mean exposing every intimate detail of your life. Instead, it involves sharing the emotional truth of your experiences. It's about going beneath the surface to explore the emotions, thoughts, and lessons these experiences have evoked.
Writing like this may seem daunting, but it's a courage that pays off. It's the doorway to writing something that resonates, touches hearts and lives, and leaves an indelible impact on your readers and even on yourself if it's in your journal for your eyes only.
Yes, you might be thinking, "Well, duh! Of course, I need my brain to write!" But I'm not talking about just any old brain; I'm talking about a brain that's open, curious, and always hungry for knowledge. A writer's brain is a sponge that soaks up information, ideas, and inspiration from the world around them.
The brain is not divided and you are invited to use your whole brain. Take a look at this video. I confess many years ago I read The Master and His Emissary by Iain McGilchrist
The brain is constantly changing – it is a work in progress - so don't give up. From birth to now, certain networks have grown, and others lost, which explains your ability to easily do certain things and your preferences. But it is all a perception that you may think you can’t do certain things. How often have you heard yourself say, ‘Oh, I am creative; I don’t do numbers’ or ‘I like logic and how, don’t give me that fluffy big picture stuff’? Ok, maybe not those exact phrases, but you get my point!
Tell yourself that you can and you will. It may be hard, but you can, I promise.
Take me as a case in point. I am a catalyst; I love ideas, and fresh and new excites me, but finishing things always feels like a chore. I looked at what I believed were my strengths (Try the Clifton Strengths Finder) and found a way to get things done. I’ve learned to adapt.
The brain can change, and that ability is called plasticity. The brain and your behaviour are not fixed, and because it is not fixed, you can learn to adapt and flex your behaviour.
Planning, writing and editing a blog or a book (for example) will certainly challenge each of you reading this in different ways. Some of you will adore planning, some will get bogged down and never write, and some will not plan and get into a mess.
The good news is that you can adapt and learn new skills. You are never too old to learn. Doing something new is great for brain plasticity. If you don’t use your brain, 1000’s of neural networks will disappear. So do stuff like journaling and writing, and your brain will grow.
Also, read widely, explore new topics and ideas, explore films out of your normal genre, even ones in foreign languages, attend workshops, and chat with people from different cultures – basically, feed your brain. Be humble and acknowledge that there's always something new to learn.
Trying to solve riddles, find clues, and assemble the pieces of puzzles is an excellent way to challenge your mind and stretch your brain. Get into the habit of spending a few minutes each day solving puzzles or playing games you really enjoy. Not only will this feel like a fun reward whenever you do it, but it will also boost your mind power.
Last but certainly not least, we come to the mysterious and elusive creature, our muse. Your muse is that whimsical, ethereal force that guides your creativity. It may strike at the most unexpected times, and it's your job to capture its (her or his) fleeting inspiration.
This next exercise is simple and powerful. The first time I did it, my muse arrived resplendent in a red suit. She was strong, vibrant and quirky. She certainly whipped me into shape and inspired me. I was, however, expecting an adonis on a unicorn. Oh well!
Find your muse
Start with a short meditation or simply bring calm to yourself with your breath. Next, imagine two doors in front of you. The one on the left is dark, and the one on the right is gold.
Start by going through the left door to meet your ego self. Your ego self is not a 'bad' thing, more that they get in the way of your inspiration and creativity - if you let them. Spend time greeting them and notice your surroundings, who they are, what they are wearing and any words that come to mind.
The ego self may criticise you, make you feel self-conscious, stop you from taking risks with your writing and even discourage experimentation.
When you have done that, go through the right door, take a good look around, and what do you notice as you go to meet your muse? Spend time greeting them and notice who they are, what they are wearing and any words that come to mind.
Your muse may invite you to connect with nature, a person, a piece of art, or any other source that evokes deep emotions or ideas. They can be unpredictable (like your inner child) and can strike at any moment. And in a flash pull you out of creative blocks and bring fresh, exciting ideas.
If you allow yourself to be inspired by a muse, the ego often takes a back seat, allowing for a more open, uninhibited flow of ideas and creativity.
Write down what comes to you. When you are ready to write, connect with the energy of your muse. You could even step into their energy and become them, or they could sit by your side, gently nagging you to write from your heart and soul.
Remember, however, we want balance and cooperation. While the ego self can benefit from the muse's inspiration, it also plays a role in refining and executing creative ideas and ensuring they are practical and well-received. Go, team!!!
Be ready to seize the moment your muse appears by having a journal handy.
Happy writing with tools you've always had.