Pretend you’re visiting Arizona and want to head back home to California. You have multiple ways to get there.
- Fly directly by plane.
- Take a road trip by car.
Just like travel, there are many ways to approach writing.
1) Sometimes, you know exactly what you need to write and how you will get there. You plan out each section. Then, you write, following the outline. You might use logic to solve any problems you encounter.
This method follows the traditional masculine energy archetype: practical, logical, focused, goal-oriented. It’s like taking a directly scheduled route to your destination.
2) Other times, you aren’t sure where exactly you’re heading. You might do a free-write or stream-of-consciousness writing session to get all your ideas in the open.
This method follows the traditional feminine energy archetype: receptive, intuitive, imaginative. It’s like starting a road trip without a rigid structure.
In my recent Story Journeying class, we were without the formal structure. Participants had no clue what story would emerge when they began writing. But through guided meditation, prompts, and writing time, they found meaning for their raw content. By the last class, the core thread and purpose of their writing became clear. It’s a satisfyingly magical experience to let the heart lead and give the head a rest.
3) Besides planning and intuitive creating, you might play your way to the goal! This is how I guide kids using the Writerly Play method at Society of Young Inklings. It’s a game-based approach to the creative process.
You can use virtually any method to get to the same outcome; there’s no right or wrong way to write. You may use a mix of approaches, starting with a receptive brainstorming and then channeling your energy into a single focus once you’ve identified it.
As I’ve worked with clients with diverse writing preferences and natural tendencies, I’ve noticed that it isn’t just about the destination, but what it’s like to get there. You can feel simple pleasure in creative immersion for no selective purpose… the content generated from this process can become valuable down the road. On the other hand, it can be important and satisfying to get it all out directly without taking many detours to take in the scenery.
How do you want to write? It might look different from those around you. Set your intention for your destination, and discover your fun, exciting, and magical experiences along the way.