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Writing for Bliss in the New Year

One of the many beautiful aspects about the beginning of a new year is that it can serve as an inspiration for change, and a new way of doing and thinking about things. It can also be an excellent time to kick-start a daily writing practice. I say practice, because like meditation, when you’re starting to write, it’s best to do so every day so that you get in the rhythm of writing.

Why Write?

Many people write for themselves as a means of self-discovery and transformation. Others may write to share their messages with the world, and some may begin to write not necessarily with the intention to share what they’ve written, but then they realize during the writing process that they do want people to read what they’ve written.

And then there are those individuals who may write with the intention of healing themselves during the process. Writing can also help people with creative problem-solving and heighten intuitive awareness. For example,  Elizabeth Maynard Shaefer, in her book Writing Through the Darkness (2008), said that writing can help with depression and lead to an amazing adventure—often calming, soothing, stirring, and sometimes joyful. Shaefer and others like her may have begun to write in order to heal themselves, but then they found that they enjoyed sharing their work in their roles as journalists, poets, memoirists, or bloggers.

It’s wonderful to get readers’ feedback on thoughts and musings. However, in my writing workshops, I remind participants not to get too bogged down in thinking about publishing their work, but rather, to simply enjoy the journey as it unfolds.

Many people who want to begin a writing practice are unsure where to start, so a new year can be an opportunity to reflect on the past or embark on a different path for the future. It can also be a time to be more mindful of the blessings around you and figure out how to avail yourself of them.

If you believe in New Years’ resolutions, you know that it’s certainly fun to make them, but studies have shown that they’re often broken by the month of February. One way to prevent this from happening is to take the time to write them down in a notebook, journal, or on your laptop.

Stream-of-Consciousness Writing

Basically, there are two types of writing: stream-of-consciousness and prompt-directed. The former is about writing continuously for fifteen or twenty minutes without stopping. In this type of writing, you’re able to tap into your subconscious mind. It’s also a way to access your authentic thoughts and inner voice. Stream-of-consciousness writing is also sometimes called “free writing” or “automatic writing,” which was a term coined by writer Andre Breton. Some people have found that engaging in this type of writing can put them into a sort of trance while they get in touch with their subconscious mind. I

n this type of writing, there’s no beginning, middle, or end. You’re writing whatever pops into your head. You might begin by recording your holiday experiences and then find yourself writing about your first love affair. In other words, this type of writing flows, regardless of where the words lead. Your pen keeps moving (or you keep tapping the keys on the keyboard). This is a way to release the messages of your heart, tap into your subconscious mind, and let go of any inhibitions.

Prompt-Directed Writing

This type of writing allows you to delve even deeper into the creative process. It’s also an effective way to step outside of your comfort zone and write about something you might not have considered before. One prompt can also lead to a myriad of other ideas.

After engaging in some stream-of-consciousness writing, consider using prompts to inspire you even further. Here are some you might wish to try:

  1. Write a letter to yourself where you reflect on this past year. How did it go for you? What might you do differently to make things better in 2019? Discuss your challenges, hurdles, accomplishments, and concerns.
  2. Write about those people or situations that inspired you in 2018.
  3. Write about any intentions you’d like to set for 2019 and how you plan on manifesting them.
  4. Write about what you’ll do to nurture yourself in 2019. What brings solace to your body, mind, and spirit?
  5. Write about what you’re grateful for and what makes you happy. Many of us tend to journal when things aren’t going so well, but when we make a habit of noticing all that is positive around us, we’re more apt to focus on the light instead of the darkness in our lives. As author Shakti Gawain once said, “The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.” Expressing gratitude also offers hope and will bring a smile to your face.
  6. Write about what you can do to develop your intuition. It has been said that intuitive people follow their instincts and listen to the voices of their souls. For some, this is a developed skill; but for others, it comes more naturally. Write down some questions or concerns you have going into 2019. Stop for a moment and look to your inner soul or higher self, and write down the answers that come to you. Try to write automatically, using a stream-of-consciousness approach for fifteen to twenty minutes.

I wish you a happy and prosperous 2019!

References

Pennebaker, J. W. (1990). Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Raab, D. (2017). Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life. Ann Arbor, MI: Loving Healing Press.

Shaefer, E. M. (2008). Writing Through the Darkness. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts.

Stockdale, B. (2009). You Can Beat the Odds. Boulder, CO: Sentient Publications.

Writing for Bliss in the New Year

Diana Raab, PhD

Diana Raab, MFA, PhD, is a memoirist, poet, blogger, speaker, and award-winning author of nine books. Her work has been published and anthologized in over 1000 publications. She frequently speaks and teaches on writing for healing and transformation.

Raab blogs for Psychology Today, Thrive Global and OmTimes. She’s editor of two anthologies: Writers and Their Notebooks and Writers on the Edge; two memoirs: Regina’s Closet and Healing with Words, and four poetry collections, including Lust. Her latest book is Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Program for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life. Visit: dianaraab.com.


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APA Reference
Raab, D. (2018). Writing for Bliss in the New Year. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/writing-for-bliss-in-the-new-year/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 30 Dec 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 30 Dec 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.