You’ve likely heard the phrase, write from the heart … but what does that truly mean?
Years ago, when I set out to form my business, I was deeply connected to exploring my life’s purpose, and I had a calling to create programs for aspiring authors to get their voices heard. But not just aspiring authors, anyone with a message to share and a calling to share that message with the world. That was my mission, and I knew in my heart it was, and still is, my life’s work.
What began to happen as I started to uncover my true calling is I began to attract people to me who had a deep-seated desire to share their story through the written word, many of whom didn’t consider themselves writers, yet they felt compelled to share their experiences in an attempt to help others on a similar journey. Our lives are filled with experiences--highs and lows, joys and heartaches, gains and losses. At one point or another, we all encounter things that shake us to our core, test our strength and enlighten us as we come out the other side.
For many, a life rich with lessons and wisdom seems almost selfish to keep to ourselves, and that’s why many of us are called to write, yet this is where the catch-22 comes in for many aspiring authors. They have a story inside them, one that’s calling them to share their message with the world, yet they’re held back by fear, self-doubt and self-sabotaging thoughts. Perhaps they don’t consider themselves trained writers, or they don’t have the first idea how to sit down and write a book.
These are precisely the type of writers that I typically end up drawing to me to work with, to my delight! So, how do I take someone without any technical training as a writer and move them through the process, from idea to publication? With one simple premise…
Write from the heart.
When we connect to our heart-center, that’s when our finest writing emerges. When we share openly and allow ourselves to be most vulnerable, we connect our readers to our story. When we can truly open up and share with the intention to serve, heal and inspire our readers with our truth, that’s when the message strengthens and touches our readers on a deeper level.
However, I’ve found there are a few things that typically stop writers from doing this. The ego will almost always try to creep in and stop you in your tracks, so knowing this going into your writing journey will help you recognize the self-sabotaging thoughts as they arise. Almost all writers experience thoughts and feelings of fear and self-doubt along the way, but when you can train yourself to recognize and dismiss these thoughts as they come, you will be able to overcome the roadblocks and obstacles that many writers face. These are the exact obstacles that stop many would-be authors, the very reason there are so many unfinished manuscripts in the world—lost opportunities, as I like to call them.
Don’t let this happen to you. Here are a few tips for connecting to your heart-center while writing your story:
- Write for yourself first. The first draft is just you telling yourself the story; getting the content out from inside you and onto the paper (or the computer). First-time authors tend to worry: who will want to read this? Is this any good? Has this all been done before? What will my family think? Those are the exact thoughts you need to recognize and dismiss as quickly as they show up--that’s the pesky ego sneaking in! Write your first draft as openly and freely as possible. Let it all out--the good, the bad, the ugly … the truth.
“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”
– Barbara Kingsolver
- Let the emotion bubble to the surface and write through it. If you find that it’s too painful to reopen old wounds and relive certain situations, that likely means you’ve yet to process those emotions and you’ve buried them deep inside. The practice of writing itself can be healing and therapeutic, but often that means reliving the experience.
- Let it flow. If you find yourself wondering how much you should share, pretend you are writing in your personal journal and let it flow freely. You will have many more drafts of your book before it’s publication-ready. You can always edit out what you don’t want to share later, but for now, write it for you, and write it all. The more content you have to work with, the easier it will be to craft a book from it later. We are not worried so much about structure with the first draft; there will be plenty of time for that in future revisions. For now, compile as much content as you can.
“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box
so I can later build castles.”
~ Shannon Hae
- Schedule your self-editing time separately from your writing time. There’s a time for revision, but not during your dedicated writing time. When you edit as you write, you are constantly switching back and forth from the creative side of the brain to the analytical side. This interrupts the flow of creativity and each time you stop it takes approximately 20 minutes of uninterrupted writing to get it back. If you want to have one of those writing sessions where the words seem to pour out of you, place your hand on your heart, connect to your heart-center, and then begin writing freely without stopping to second-guess word choices. Chances are, you’ll look back at your writing later and find you’re impressed by what emerged.
If you have a story inside you or a deep calling to share your message with the world, I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to be a trained writer to write your book. You can always hire editors or writing/author coaches to help improve upon your writing and strengthen your story. In the meantime, I’d be willing to bet if you sit down with the intention to write from the heart and follow the steps I’ve laid out for you here, you’ll find that you that you can write better than expected.
If you've enjoyed these tips and you're ready to finally write that story that's been living inside you, I invite you to check out my online course, Write from the Heart Book Writing Intensive. This is a self-study course designed to walk you step-by-step through the book-writing process in as few as eight weeks.