Psychological Writing Practices

I’ve gone through a great deal of psychotherapy, and some modalities for healing involve writing, which I’m great at. Here are some I have learned over the years:

Diary, Journaling-Sit down and write about what’s on your mind that time and day, at least for 15 minutes; this is great writing practice, and a form of self-psychotherapy, and a guage of how you’ve evolved over time.

Write “I am grateful for…”, and list at least ten things you are grateful for in your life, like the house you dwell in, the income you receive, your health, etc.

“To do” list, write down every thing you need to do today, and over time, and when you do the job, cross it out, you feel like you’ve accomplished something.

Serious-fun list. Take a sheet of paper, draw a line down it, and on one sdie write “serious,” and on the other side write “fun,” to remind yourself that you do serious work, but you also enjoy yourself.

Visualization-write about you ideal scenario, like a vision of your ideal vacation, what you would do with a million dollars, and put in tangible details to make it plausible. It’s a great mental exercise, but I think it would be great for writing practice. (Just a thought)

“Good I do” list; So many times I was told I didn’t do ANY damn thing right, I was no damn good for nuthin’! BUT when you write down all the good things you’ve done-like cleaning up the park, walking a friend’s dog, getting a good grade, anything positive-you write it down, to remind yourself of the good you do and can do.

“I look forward too…” ; write down a list of all the upcoming events that you look forward to, like a religious service, a party, a date, a book signing, etc.


Writing Tips I’ve Learned

Over my writing career, I’ve picked up advice for my writing work, through classes and my reading. I want to share them with you:

Keep a pen and notepad on you at ALL times. You never know where and when an idea for an article, poem, or story could come to you. Don’t trust your memory to work for you to retain the idea, you might not remember the idea later.

Watch your environment-the diner you eat at, your neighborhood, your favorite spots, you place of worship, etc.-and take down on paper the scene, the furniture, the sounds, the aromas from the kitchen, the conversation going on. Pick up on what people say, what they wear, their gestures, etc. Give a physical description of what you see, don’t put down what your mind says, don’t editorialize.

Go to places where writers are-conferences, conventions, groups, classes, cafes, bars, etc. Talk to writers and network with them, and learn from them, pick up ideas. Editors and publishers would be in the room where they meet, and they might hire you. Also, subscribe to writers’ media-websites, magazines, manuals, etc. All of that has inspired me to write out drafts of poems and stories.  

Practice the art of writing. Write a diary, write letters, take notes of what goes on around you, what you attain with your senses, maintain a blog. Just write anything, when your mind will trigger, and the words will flow freely, and you can find a story or poem in those scribblings.

Read! That tops them all. Read the classics of fiction and poetry, of journalism, newspapers, magazines, blogs-from the classics to the crappiest pulp stuff. Again in my experience, reading triggers in me the urge to do my own writing, right then and there.

Here are a couple of fine writing guidebooks in my life:

The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and EB White. This little book is a classic for learning to write with clarity, taking a less-is-more attitude.

Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg. Goldberg is an advocate of free-writing, just putting down whatever you must, just let the pen run free on the paper.