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Soul Writing

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Soul Writing: First Drafts for Self Discovery

I wrote my first book when I was 6 or 7. It was handwritten in a lined journal with a puffy pink fabric cover. The story involved running away from home to save a unicorn, lots of friends, and a shopping spree at Kmart. It was not publishable, almost certainly, and it never occurred to me to try. Writing it and sharing it with my family was fun, and that was all I needed.

I wrote my second book when I was 40. I wrote it mostly in the early morning hours before my husband and dogs woke up and needed my attention. It did turn out to be publishable, but I wasn’t terribly worried about that at first. Writing it was hard work, but it was interesting work, and the process of putting my thoughts and experiences onto paper and into something tangible was, and still is, the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

Creativity, and writing in particular, require two things. One is to be engaged in the process, not in the results. I have started writing many, many more books that I have finished, and the death knock has always been when I start wondering who will publish it. 

The second thing creativity requires is that in order to even begin, we need to feel safe and relaxed. I have never written anything more meaningful than an email or a facebook post when I was tense or under pressure or worried about what people will think.

So many writing groups promise endless feedback. Feedback is great, and at a certain point in the process, we all need feedback, both the kind that is fun and gratifying to hear and the kind that means that we still have work to do, which almost always stings, and sometimes a lot.

First drafts flourish in environments where only positive feedback is given and the writer is engaged fully in the process of writing. Second and third and fourth drafts need editing and cutting and rearranging. First drafts need nurturing and love and encouragement.

But first drafts are the juiciest, most revelatory work we will do. First drafts are where we learn the most about ourselves. First drafts happen when we let the subconscious flow, and when we let ourselves write about what really matters to us, not what matters to the editor or the publisher or our family.

In this workshop, we will set aside second drafts, constructive feedback, and talks of publication. All of those things may happen, or they may not, but at the stage of the first draft, we won’t even worry about it. In this workshop, we will set the conditions so that the nervous system can relax enough to allow the subconscious to become conscious through the medium of pen and paper. You may not get published, but you will learn something about yourself, guaranteed.


This workshop is for you if you:

  • Love to write

  • Are interested in self-inquiry and discovery

  • Want support and structure around writing 

  • Enjoy other people and hearing other perspectives

  • Are willing to let your work be formless, raw, and imperfect

This workshop is probably not a good fit for you if you:

  • Are really concerned that your work be published or publishable

  • Are unable to set aside your critical mind to focus on what you love about other people’s work

  • Want to learn writing formulas for a particular genre

  • Don’t really want to dive into your shadow side or hear about the shadow side of others

  • Don’t believe that creativity is an inherent characteristic of every human being

In each session of this 6-week series we will:

  • Practice gentle breathwork and meditation to prime the nervous system for creativity

  • Be offered prompts for writing

  • Spend time writing together as an online community

  • Encourage each other to read our work aloud

  • Practice deep listening to other people’s stories

  • Grow our own joy and happiness by sharing with others what we love about their work

  • Savasana!

  • Due to the personal nature of the work, the sessions will not be recorded, but missing a session or two will not diminish your experience--you'll just have slightly less of it.

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