My journey with writing started when I was 12 years old. It is a time that I think is really difficult for a lot of young women. Puberty is in full swing, school is different, and friend groups start changing. I cannot remember exactly how it happened other than a few encouraging teachers who pushed me toward writing.
I never set out to be a great writer or even a good one. Rather I wrote poetry and short stories as a way of voicing everything that was going on inside of me. For most of this time I felt like I didn’t have friends or family who I could talk to about my problems. So much of the time I didn’t even know what was wrong, just that something felt off.
Writing has been a refuge for me ever since this time as a young girl. It has helped me find a voice when I feel speechless, recover when I feel broken, and cry when I feel numb. Along the way I have picked up a few writing techniques and exercises that have helped me find my voice.
1. Free Writing
Free writing can be a great way to start writing if you haven’t explored it very much before. It is really simple. Pick up some paper and a pen and start writing whatever comes to mind. It might be random thoughts or words, something that happened that day, or just ideas. Whatever it is there is no need to edit. Rather just let it all flow out of you.
This can be a great way to start to get an idea what is actually going on inside of you. It is incredibly telling to read back over what you have written and see all of the things that have been hiding inside your mind. Sometimes I use this as a technique by itself. Other times stories or poems develop out of a line or idea I had while free writing.
2. Lyric Poetry
If you are someone who does not feel like they are a good writer this is a great technique. You essentially make a poem out of lyrics from other songs. You can also feel free to incorporate quotes from favorite authors or lines of other poetry. This might sound like you are just plagiarizing from other people. However, it can be powerful to put other people’s ideas together in a new way.
3. Meditation Journal
When I started meditating someone recommended to me that I write down just a couple of lines after each meditation that I did. If you prefer yoga you can do the same with yoga. All you do is grab a journal and every time afterward you just write a little bit about the experience. Sometimes I would write pages and other just a line or two.
This is a great way to find your voice and also view your spiritual progress unfold. Going back and reading this old journals shows me how much my practice has grown and changed over the years.
4. Dream Book
If you are someone who remembers their dreams this can be a really cool exercise. You don’t need to interpret your dreams or anything like that. Just keep a little dream book next to your bed and when you wake up remembering a dream write it down. Doing this can be such a cool way to give a voice to your unconscious or creative mind.
Often our dreams are incredibly imaginative. Writing in this way can serve as a jumping off point for future pieces or can be valuable in itself.