A Journey of Truth, Transformation, and Self-Discovery
You don’t feel driven to write.
You tag the experience as writer’s block.
And you’d be right.
The search for help to overcome the writer’s block curse begins.
You hate it. Annoying isn’t it?
Check this out:
What if you look at writer’s block as a gift, and love it.
The process is a beautiful mess.
Because even though it’s a wonderful gift, it’s simple, but not easy to deal with what writer’s block brings.
What’s This Post About?
The purpose of this article is to help you make expressive writing and self-inquiry a habit; therefore, you’ll overcome the writer’s block because you have gone to the root of the situation and face it.
We are going to cover:
- What Causes Writer’s Block?
- What Expressive Writing Can Do for You?
- How to Get Rid of Writer’s Block
- Why Does Expressive Writing Work?
What Causes Writer’s Block?
Writer’s block, easier to identify, shows up as a lack of skill, for example, that needs to be accomplished as a writer, and there’s no other way than learn the craft.
More difficult to identify is writer’s block that has nothing to do with our writing, but blocks our creativity, and forces us to go deeper searching for the cause because it’s hidden in our subconscious mind.
According to Dr. John Sarno, the subconscious mind is responsible for processing written and oral language, for instance, also to think, to reason, among other complicated processing.
Dr. Sarno explained the subconscious as “the place where all sorts of feelings may reside, not all logical, not all nice, and some of them downright scary.”
Don’t be scared:
Here is the point:
Whatever is causing your writer’s block begins and ends in the subconscious mind.
How to deal with it?
Different techniques give us access to the subconscious mind such as meditation, and writing journaling such as expressive writing and self-inquiry.
Janet Conner, the author of Writing Down Your Soul, explains we have an individual subconscious and a collective subconscious. Furthermore, we have to deal with our personal history, and also the starving artist portrait for so long in our society.
You have to ask questions to retrieve the information from the subconscious mind, lots and lots of questions. Moreover, questions that lead to other questions with no right or wrong answers.
As you can ponder the process is endless, it up to you to make it a habit.
What Expressive Writing Can Do for You?
Mark Matousek, the author of Writing to Awaken, conveys expressive writing has boundless amazing positive benefits that improve physical and mental health, such as:
- Psychological empowerment
- Emotional healing
- Social Intelligence
- Increased well-being
- Creative growth
- Spiritual awareness
Expressive writing helps us heal repressed emotions in a safe environment. Moreover, Dr. John Sarno advised his patients not to repress their emotions especially anger, because tension and unexpressed emotions could cause back pain, literally.
Word of caution:
Expressive writing is therapeutic and helps to deal with anxiety, depression, stress, etc. However, severe cases should consider professional advice. If you like this technique, some professionals use writing and/or art journaling as a way of healing trauma in their practices.
How to Get Rid of Writer’s Block
Expressive writing is a self-care journaling technique that allows a safe environment to deal with emotions. Free-writing and self-inquiry deals with expressing all that’s repressed without hurting ourselves or somebody else.
Good News, if you are looking for a muse:
Matousek refers to the subconscious mind as the muse.
Guidelines for expressive writing according to Mark Matousek:
- Don’t pay attention to grammar, syntax or elegant prose.
- Tell the truth.
- Bring the desire to transcend your story.
- Maximum one-thousand words per response, “to help distill the writing and train your mind no to wander too much.”
- Breakthrough resistance. Stick with the practice even though you feel discomfort.
- Write in the same place and at the same time every day, at least five consecutive days a week.
- Enjoy your solitude.
- Use meditation, yoga, or any practice to help you to settle the mind. Five minutes is enough.
- Show up. If you can’t write, write about not being able to write.
In Writing to Awaken, Matousek shares 48 writing prompts for you to evaluate what’s blocking your life and your writing.
To start you can use the first one practiced by Matousek, he calls this lesson “The Creation Myth.”
Mark Matousek’s father left him when he was four years old. In the sake to fill the gap that’s an absent father, he hired a detective. He hasn’t found out what happened to his father, but he began writing his experience and inspired his book The Boy He Left Behind.
In ‘The Creation Myth’ Matousek explains it doesn’t matter how much it’s true; what’s important is how we remember it.
Imagine the moment of your own conception. “Describe the atmosphere in detail, including your parent’s emotional, spiritual, and physical lives.”
Look into your parent’s relationship, “How has your parent’s legacy impacted your story? Do you see yourself as a product of love? Accident? Obligation? Confusion?
Do you identify more with your mother or your father?… If it was possible for children to choose their parents, why might you have chosen yours?”
The story is in our subconscious mind, even if we are unaware. Furthermore, to uncover our story, our memories and the labels we associate with it, has an impact on “who we believe we are and place limits on our potential.”
When we uncover our story, we “become the story-teller, not the story.”
Why Does Expressive Writing Work?
Writing forces you to slow down and allow your mind and heart to open.
Even though Mark Matousek and Janet Conner wrote and talked about their experience, and shared their writing in a group, also they remarked, it’s not necessary to receive the benefits of expressive writing if you don’t feel ready to share what you find in a group, when you are ready, you’ll have the right people around you to understand your predicament.
By practicing expressive writing, we’ll get the gift of being more us, and to live fully in the present moment.
You could have setbacks, and it’s OK; it’s a sign of progress. Matousek acknowledges “the nearer we get to insight, the more our shadow will rise up to stop us.”
“You’ll see positive as well as negative stories concealed there, gifts as well as destructive elements,” Matousek recalls.
If the subconscious is part of ourselves, we are dealing with it no matter what, better to access our deepest self and make friends there.
One effective way to overcome writer’s block is to work on your shadow self. If you refuse to deal with your psychological shadow, a projection will take place and you’ll end marrying, working or befriending it. There is no way to avoid inner work.
“As writers, we must learn to enjoy our own company.” Writes Matousek. Free-writing is cathartic and powerful to change our lives if we make it a daily practice.
As Matousek states, “you can always write your way back to centre.” After all these practices, we find a long-lost friend.
What’s important to accomplish?
Heal your subconscious mind.
I have used three techniques with amazing results:
Meditation, expressive writing, and forgiveness.
Now you are ready to say bye to writer’s block.
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Author Mark Matousek
Writing to Awaken: A Journey of Truth, Transformation, and Self-Discovery
Published by Reveal Press; 1 edition (July 1, 2017)
ARC by NetGalley