Happy Saturday, Kelly. I can't believe I finally got you here. Ladies, if you haven't met Kelly you are in for a wonderful surprise. If you have I know you are glad I got her to visit us. Kelly, back up to the fireplace and get warm! Hot tea, coffee, or iced tea? (Hey, I'm southern and I must have my iced tea year round.)
Your Writer Self-Image: Why Do You Write?
© 2012 Kelly L. Stone
Why do you write?
Whatever your answer is, whether it’s to achieve a lifelong dream of seeing your novel on a store bookshelf or to pen your family’s memoirs, your answer is what I call your 'Burning Desire to Write'. It’s the sense of fulfillment you derive from writing. It’s that ants-in-the-pants feeling you get when you don’t write. It’s the deep abiding need that only the act of writing will satisfy. It’s what makes you a writer.
Your Burning Desire to Write is a manifestation of your self-image, or your self-esteem. When you feel good about yourself you do things on a regular basis, like writing, that reinforce those positive feelings. Even thirty minutes a day spent working toward a goal has been shown to elevate a person’s sense of well-being. This is why writing makes you feel good-- because you accomplished something. You created something. A “thing” that didn’t exist before: a book, a song, or a painting, now exists because you created it.
Your self-image, your answer to “why” you write, gives you a reason to pursue those goals. It doesn’t have to be a lofty reason. Many people write because it brings a solace that nothing else can. Bestselling author CJ Lyons began writing out of despair when a close friend was murdered. Many writers write because of the fulfillment that working toward a goal adds to life.
Try the exercise below to build up your own writer self-image.
Exercise: Nourish Your "Why"
Find a comfortable place to sit where you won't be disturbed. Have a pen and a notepad nearby. Close your eyes and begin to notice your breath. Don't force your breathing, simply watch it. Notice where you find the sensations of breathing the strongest: at your nose, your chest, or the rise and fall of your stomach. Wherever it is, simply watch it for several minutes. Don’t force. Just observe.
Next begin relaxing the major muscle groups in your body. Start with your feet, and imagine that they feel heavy and warm. Then move to your legs, your stomach, your chest, and end with your head and neck. Between each major muscle group, focus on relaxing. Allow your mind to free fall. When you're done sit quietly for a few minutes. Stay focused on your breathing.
Then turn your focus to: why do I write? Allow whatever comes up to rise into your awareness. Keep focusing on the question, why do I write? Notice thoughts, sensations in the body, emotions that arise and pass.
After a few minutes, open your eyes and write about what you experienced. Record the emotional reasons that came to you; perhaps writing makes you feel good about yourself, or it leaves you with a fulfilled feeling. Perhaps you write to cope with deep feelings of grief, or even happiness. Maybe writing helps you deal with an unresolved matter.
Next, write about why all these reasons make you a writer. What does this say about who you are as a writer? Give some thought to your writer self-image.
When you feel done, get up and stretch, have a cup of tea, or go for a walk. Allow some time to pass.
Then go back and read what you wrote.
Refine your "why" from your musings in this exercise. Hone in on what makes you tick as writer. That's where your heart is, where your writer self-image comes from; your Burning Desire to Write. That's what will keep you going on your writing journey.
Kelly L. Stone (www.AuthorKellyLStone.com) is the author of a women’s fiction novel, GRAVE SECRET (Mundania Press, 2007) called “powerful” by RT Book Reviews. She is also the author of the TIME TO WRITE series: TIME TO WRITE: No Excuses, No Distractions, No More Blank Pages (Adams Media, 2008), THINKING WRITE: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind (Adams Media, 2009) and LIVING WRITE: The Secret to Bringing Your Craft Into Your Daily Life (Adams Media, 2010). Kelly speaks and presents workshops across the country and offers online classes, critiques, and coaching services to writers. Her two upcoming online classes include *No Matter How Busy You Are, You Can Find TIME TO WRITE* in January 2013 and *Free Your Creative Mind* in March 2013. Contact Kelly for more information or to register.
Contact her at Kelly@AuthorKellyLStone.com