Writing from the Heart

So I’m not much of a writer. I’m more of a talker – just ask my family and friends. But the thing is, I want to be a writer. I have great ideas in my head – pearls of wisdom I’m sure will change the world (well my world anyway), but when I go to write it comes out like – um yeah, you’re great um, good on you! I think my son inherited my skills for the written word. He came out of his room to read his assignment to myself and his father the other night. I was all ready to heap praise on his valiant efforts, but all I could muster was – that’s shit Riley!! Mother of the year – I know!! What happened? I know he, like me, has great ideas. We’d talked about what he was doing and it sounded good. Unfortunately, just not on paper!

While I know some people really do have a way with words, and we can’t all beHemingway or Jane Austen, I believe that we can all write somewhat – it’s just that we’ve never really been shown how. At school we learnt to incorporate an introduction, a middle and a conclusion. It was more about the structure of writing rather than the content. There was no romance in it. I, like my son get so caught up in the structure, finding the perfect word or worried where the full stop goes (mind you, this is not my son’s problem, he as an aversion to all punctuation!), that I struggle to get beyond the first few lines.

The light bulb moment came for me when I met author Maggie MacKellar and did her writing retreat. She gave me permission to just write from the heart – get it all down. The shitty first draft she called it –a phrase coined by author Anne Lamott. What a liberating experience and what came out was not too bad. The thing is, you get all your ideas out and then you can move them around later to make it more interesting or impactful. My last point became my first, my second my fourth etc., but everything I needed to work with was there. So now I feel a bit braver with my writing. No it’s not perfect and sometimes I still find it hard to get started, but at least I have a way forward.

I think Riley is on the right path as well (for this week anyway – he is 13 and that’s a whole other blog). After apologising profusely for my initial remarks, we spent some time helping him to get organised and believe in himself and his ideas. If you’re feeling a little stuck with your writing and need a push to be a bit bolder, braver, better with your writing, then join us and other participants on the same journey for one of our Writers’ Retreats with Maggie MacKellar. I guarantee you will love the experience and where it will lead.


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