We’ve all got a story to tell. And our stories are worth telling! But just saying them out loud isn’t enough, because they can be forgotten. It’s good to get them written down.
So, how do you get started?
- Get yourself a journal and a good pen you enjoy writing with. It could be a beautiful leather journal or a colorful one or a recycled paper one. Keep it with you all the time! Your journal is a container for all your thoughts and ideas; not just “Dear Diary,” but rather, new business ideas, creative projects, successes and failures, lessons learned. Writing is a way to process ideas and filter your thoughts, and put them in a safe place, until you decide to pull them out to use them, e.g., for a poem, a new book idea, an email to your ex, a business proposal, or a letter to your sister. (A computer works, too, but it can become too easy…like riding in a car all the time instead of walking. Writing by hand is more visceral, more real, less polished. You can also type it up later. )
- Date your entry. That’s it. No other “rules,” according to Kay Adams at The Center for Journal Therapy and one of my mentors. The space between your entries is just as important as the actual entry, so, you don’t have to write every day or anything. But it IS helpful to know WHEN you wrote something, so you can put it in context. (Did you write something down on Valentine’s Day? If not, why not? What does that say about you and your life? Just sayin.’)
- Go with the FIRST THOUGHT, BEST THOUGHT idea (also Kay’s suggestion). Just write what pops into your head. And then just keep writing from there. It’s great to set a timer, and stop after 5 or 10 or 15 mins, or whatever. At Women Writing for (a) Change, we call this a “fast write.” Stay ahead of your inner critic, be honest, and get to the deeper waters. You can always edit later.
- Join a group! It’s really important for many of us not just to write, but also TO BE HEARD. We all need to be able to say our stories out loud to let them be appreciated and honored. (Just like visual artists need to be seen to complete their process.) This also gives you a supportive community to surround yourself with. It also gives you structure…a deadline, a commitment, a reason to push yourself just a little. And that’s the edge: That’s where the growth happens. Plus, it’s just plain fun.
Where can you get started with a writing community? Right here At Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville, where we offer semester-long classes, specialty workshops, and special community programs.
THIRD THURSDAYS, FOURTH FRIDAYS
In fact, it just so happens that we’ve got a new program coming up at Unity Plaza on the FOURTH FRIDAY of this month called “The Happiness Project: Writing Your Way to Happiness.” It’s for men and women, and our first workshop “sampler” will be Friday, Feb. 26, from 2-4, in the Community Center. You’ll always find a Women Writing for (a) Change program on the Fourth Friday of every month at Unity Plaza.
You can also sign up for our FREE writing circles on the THIRD THURSDAY of every month, right at Unity Plaza, during the Women’s Day Out program on Thursdays. Starting on March 17, we’ll have a writing circle from 1:30-2:30 every Third Thursday.
You can always find out more on this website, by following our Facebook page, or by checking out our Meetup group site, where we post regular offerings. At Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville, we’re open to all levels of writers, from pros to beginners. We’d love to have you in the circle.