Writing brings together both sides of the brain. It’s creative, and also analytical.
This is fascinating because you can pen a grocery list or draw a plan just as you can write a creative fictional story or allow your intuition to speak through your words.
This is good to remember because…
The logical rational part of the brain is where the inner critic lives.
When you’re finding yourself telling instead of showing, you’re probably more in the analytical space. This tends to not be as interesting to the reader. I’ve written about that here.
To disengage the logical rational part of the brain where the inner critic lives, I lead my clients through exercises that engage the body, activate the imagination, and enliven the heart and soul.
Here are examples of 3 exercises I use with clients to help get into the flow-state of writing and show not tell:
Exercise #1: Dropping into the scene
- Scan your document for a place where you’ve stated a lesson you learned. Find a telling statement.
E.g. You see that you wrote: “After my fight with my sister in ‘09, I learned to stop giving my power away to other people.”
- Get into a meditative state.
- Brainstorm/imagine/visualize/think of a scene that provides a specific story/example of this.
It might be:
- A specific event
- An action you took
- Now, go back in time to that moment, to before you became who you are today. You might visualize it in your mind or take on the body postures of that event and act it out.
- Write from here.
It might be painful to relive the memory–one of the benefits of hindsight, insight, and introspection is the distance mentalizing something offers to the emotional body. So if you notice this coming up, remember that you aren’t actually back in that situation. Step back to the “current” spot and shake it off. Access your past reality to help write from that place, but don’t get stuck back there!
Exercise #2: Time machine
This exercise uses sticky notes on the wall or notecards on the floor denoting ages. E.g. if you’re 37 years old, lay out these sticky notes:
- Current (37)
- 5 years ago / 32
- 10 years ago / 27
- 15 years ago / 22
- Take a few breaths, and imagine stepping onto your current position. Take on the body posture of how you feel about this situation now.
- Shake it off. Step backwards onto the 32 sticky note. Imagine your life 5 years ago. What dominant emotions come up? What position does your body take? Sense into the situation. Stay here a minute or two.
- Shake it off. Keep progressing backwards until you get to the age you were in this situation.
Exercise #3: Step into their shoes
A third experiential exercise I guide clients through involves taking on the body postures of each person involved in the scene to step into their shoes.
- Imagine the scene.
- Pretend you’re stepping into the body of each person involved in the scene.
- Take on their body posture and act out their actions. Notice how you feel and what insights you receive.
- Switch roles if there are multiple people in the scene. Repeat steps above for each person.
- Return to your own body to integrate the experience.
This allows you to get out of your head and discover new perspectives. Your insights to fill in the gaps of your memory of the scene.
You can create inspiration and get into the flow of writing quite easily with these exercises.
Curious to learn more about how you can create impulses for writing instead of waiting endlessly for the right spark of inspiration?
I offer a free assessment to discuss your situation and needs. Contact me.