Sunday, May 6, 2012

Writing From The Heart

That is the title of a wonderful book written by Nancy Slonim Aronie. It is one that every writer should read. I believe it will change you in many ways and not just in your writing. You see it is a spiritual journey that Nancy takes you on in both her book as well in as her workshops. Nancy has been a writer for many years as well as a commentator for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Nancy does not believe that anyone can really teach writing. What she does believe is that she can provide a safe place to write because if one feels safe than they can achieve many things. And as someone who has attended a few of her workshops I certainly can attest to that.

I read Nancy’s book about 12 years ago.  And I have read it many times since then.   It  takes you on a spiritual journey of what it means to be a writer. In the book she shares her own experiences as a writer but more importantly as a human being. She includes many great writing exercises throughout the book.  It is in no way an intimidating process. I for one can say that writing workshops/classes have always greatly intimidated me.  I never felt worthy enough to attend a workshop, probably because I didn’t feel like a true writer!  But what exactly makes one a writer? I believe that we all have stories to tell, stories that have the power to heal us. 

I have been feeling stuck in many aspects of my life lately and it was almost serendipitous that I ended up attending a workshop with her yesterday.  I almost did not go but pushed myself out of my funk.  I am so glad I did.  I wrote, cried, listened, and shared.  I sat and listened to her describe the difference between the brain and the heart and how it relates to writing. She described the brain as the computer and the heart as the place where you feel emotions. If you just write from your head or rather your brain you may be getting the information down on the page but it will be devoid of meaning, of inspiration. It will be missing the poetry, the rhythm that our emotions can create as we bring our words to life.

During the  workshop  you are given a writing exercise which is a lead in sentence you write for about 15 minutes and then return to the circle where you have the opportunity to share with the group.  Everyone has the opportunity to give feedback to each other. But it is all positive, that is Nancy’s rule. By the end of the day, there was much laughter, and many tears. I felt bonded to those in the room with me listening to stories of loss, and even of love. Stories of tragedy and of triumph. But what resonated throughout it all was the emotion being conveyed through each person’s words. Everyone seemed to be sharing parts of themselves that may have been tucked far, far, away. I have had this experience with Nancy’s workshop on more than one occasion and am still amazed at this environment she creates where we all feel safe to write. Where we all feel safe enough to write from our hearts……


  1. I.Am.So.Glad.That.You.Went. ♥

  2. The writing class sounds like a real experience, Cathy. I've never taken any kind of writing class...ever! Unless, of course, you can call my High School English class, where we took apart Beatles songs and Edgar Allen Poe poetry, a writing class! LOL And frankly I'm afraid of taking one. I think I express my feelings and emotions very easily now. I'm afraid I'll get all bogged down in the "what you're suppose to dos" and lose my freeness of speech!...I admit I am curious whether my writing is any good...real writer-wise. But not curious enough to take a class. ^_^ Good for you, not being intimidated by the process. I think your life experience is training you in this. ;-)

  3. I'm glad that workshop gave you new motivation and strength. The book really sounds interesting. Thank you for the tips. I have a couple of books in my "next" list, but "Writing from the Heart" might be the next one!