Right now I’m run off my feet doing last minute things before I fly off to the other side of the world. Therefore my friend and writing coach, Charlotte Rains Dixon, is here today to guest post. I shall leave you in her capable hands.
We writers talk a lot about our Inner Critic. We do free writes to identify and personify it, and then we create dialogues with our Inner Critic to get it to quit bashing us and start behaving. I recommend this process to clients all the time, and it can be incredibly helpful in silencing the harsh voices that sometimes keep us from writing.
But I worry that in all this Inner Critic eradicating an important point gets lost—and that is the process of listening to our internal guidance.
It’s been called our inner pilot light, our intuition, a gut reaction, a hunch, discernment, the still small voice within. I like to call it your Inner GPS. Because that’s what it is—your inner road map.
It’s also the key to the best writing you’ve ever done.
Remember the time that character walked on and instead of swatting her off the page, you let her talk? That was your Inner GPS at work. Or how about when you found yourself pouring your heart out to your journal for an hour? Yup, your Inner GPS was guiding you. Have you ever had the experience that a story or essay was channeled, because it was coming through your fingers onto the keyboard so fast? You guessed it. That was your Inner GPS.
Your Inner GPS knows what you want to write and how to write it, if only you would listen. Your Inner GPS never steers you wrong, unlike the ones you buy for your car. But too often we’re not open to listening to our Inner GPS. I fear that sometimes we’re so focused on not listening to our Inner Critic that we turn off the flow to our Inner GPS.
How can you turn it back on again? Here are some tips.
1. Get Quiet and Listen. Your Inner GPS is always there to guide your writing (and all areas of your life). It’s just that most often we don’t bother to listen to it. As with all forms of listening, remaining quiet is the key. Sit peacefully for a few minutes before you write and see if anything comes up. Go for a walk when you get stuck. Sit beneath a tree and feel the light breeze on your face.
2. Quit Looking Externally. We are firmly ensconced in the Information Age. Oh, are we ever. Never before in the history of man have we had so much pulling on our attention—the internet, Smart Phones, television, to name a few. Staunching the constant info flow into your brain will help. Do you really have to know the latest report on that natural disaster? Wait a few minutes before reading the news—it’s all pretty much recycled anyway.
3. Tune Out and Create Spaciousness. Raise your hand if you don’t have a Smartphone. Okay, all two of you can ignore this tip. For the other 25 gazillion, heed me: Look up from your phone! Put it in your pocket and forget it’s there. Next time you find yourself waiting in line or eating alone, instead of whipping our your phone to pass the time, leave it where it is and be where you are without its constant stimulation. Doing this repeatedly over time will open up a spaciousness that will allow your Inner GPS to emerge.
4. Don’t Worry About What Others Think. Your Inner GPS tells you to don a red tutu and dance in the backyard? Do it! The more you follow your Inner GPS, the more it will speak to you. And remember, you’re a creative type anyway, so everyone already thinks you’re nuts.
5. Write. Write anything and everything: journal entries, novels, short stories, essays, memoirs, blog posts, whatever your Inner GPS instructs you to do. Putting words on the page on a regular basis is a sure path to accessing your inner guidance!
Follow these five tips and you’ll be writing up a storm with the assistance of your Inner GPS, and it will be the best, most natural writing you’ve ever done.
Charlotte Rains Dixon is the author of the novel, Emma Jean’s Bad Behavior. She is a writer and writing coach and blogs at www.charlotterainsdixon.com.
So what about you? How do you turn your Inner Writer back on?