Love the idea of a daily writing practice but have no idea how to get started? This video’s for you! You can find the transcript below the video.
Hello everyone. My name is Sarah Cannata. I am the founder of Storytelling for the Soul. In today’s video, I’m going to talk about one of the questions I am asked the most, and that is, “Sarah, how do I incorporate a daily writing practice into my life on any kind of practical level?” Now, here’s the thing.
A daily writing practice is not intended to add unnecessarily to your to-do list.
So what I mean to say is I don’t ask people to write for the sake of it, and just to add something else for them to do that can be more overwhelming. That’s not what we’re aiming for here. So the way that I frame a daily writing practice with my clients is to aim for five to 10 minutes each day, doing your best not to skip a day.
Now, if life happens and you do skip a day, all is not lost.
The world will still continue to tick over. It’s just a matter of getting back your practice and getting back on board and continuing to build that habit. And the reason it’s really important to write regularly is because that is really the only way that you’ll be able to track and monitor the impacts that writing is having on you on a daily basis, of which there is a myriad of different ways that writing can impact your life in a positive way.
For some people, it helps them to feel better equipped to deal with the challenges that may arise during their day. For other people, it helps them to go to bed at night because they have issues with overthinking and writing is a really good way to basically get things off your mind, get back into the felt sense of your body, really feel into what’s going on in your mind and how that’s feeling for you in your physical body and how they’re impacting you.
So there’s a multitude of ways that writing benefits you, and it’s so accessible.
Available 24/7. Very low barrier to entry.
All you need is paper, pen and something to type with, and you’re good to go. So, like I said, five to 10 minutes each day. Now, what I notice with people is that when they do start seeing the benefits, that 10 minutes slowly elevates over time, and suddenly they’re writing 15, 20 minutes a day without really putting too much thought into it.
But initially, focus on small steps. Start off slow, five to 10 minutes daily. Now, the other thing is it does not matter when you write; incorporate writing into your life. Do not change your life to work around writing. That will become very painful, very quickly. You also don’t have to write at the same time every day to get maximum benefits.
Write before your day begins, you can write in between meetings. You can write at lunchtime, maybe in the car waiting for your kids to come out of school. Great time to write. You can also write just before bed, which does help people, I find, go to sleep if that’s something that you do struggle with, but also it doesn’t have to be at the same time every single day.
Forget about your environment.
From what I’ve seen, people have this really romanticised notion of writing. As in, they have to have a quiet space. They get out their best stationery; royalty stationary. They’ve got the essential oils, maybe some soft music in the background. And look, that setting and scenario sounds lovely.
Unfortunately, it’s not practical for most people, and what it means is that writing becomes something that you put off until you do find yourself in that very romanticised version of how writing looks in your mind. Just write whenever you can. Trust me. And the other thing, we’re not worrying about quality here.
We are not trying to create the next Harry Potter, the next Lord of the Rings. Whatever your favourite book may be. We are not trying to create that. Quality is completely irrelevant. And the other thing is that when I say writing, please know writing looks different to different people. So for some people, they may be able to write slabs and slabs of content/copy, switch subjects, and all kinds of things without too much effort. For other people, they may just get disjointed words, paragraphs, a single word here and there.
It really doesn’t matter. What I say to people is experiment and, figure out what works for you. Also, retain an open mind and curiosity, and what I mean by that is, do you notice that with certain topics you are able to write pages and pages and pages, and then with other things, maybe you’re only getting a word here and there and you’re feeling like you’re freezing within your body?
And then underpinning all this, which is at the core of my work, which I call embodied writing, is the connection between the mind and the body. So this is not intended to be a big massive brain dump where it’s basically an out-of-body experience.
Throughout this process, we’re remaining very connected to the body; connected to the felt sense.
As we are writing, we are noticing any sensations that are going on in our body. And we’re remaining connected. And that’s really at the core of my teachings. Now, in a future video, I will also show you something else that I call the one non-negotiable element of the embodied writing process, and that is cultivating safety.
And the reason I say that is writing is similar to talking.
Writing can actually be very triggering, especially if you do happen to write about something you find very traumatic. So what we don’t want to do as part of this process is tip our nervous systems into overwhelm. That really doesn’t help anyone. So I will discuss that in a future video, but for now, I want to keep these videos short and sharp.
So I’m going to leave it there. Let me know how you go with getting started in the comments. I’m always very happy to hear your insights and your experiences. Anything you feel ready to share, please do so in the comments. As for me, my inbox is always open: email@example.com. Head over to my website, www.sarahcannata.com, for a bunch of free resources, online courses, and more is coming.
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