I am always looking for ways to enhance the storyline and give the book more depth . This guest post by Sherry Marshall explains how she uses her training as a Process Oriented Therapist to take her story to the next level.
Writing. Exhilarating, inspirational, joyful; also frustrating, exasperating, hard work, and challenging. Writing in a different way re-inspires and unblocks me and allows me to explore new directions in a more creative way. It reveals the unknown and unseen which is waiting to become visible to me. So, how to write in a novel way?
I always trust myself and follow my process. This means I am open to the mysterious, inexplicable, surprising and unknown depths of myself, rather than just my conscious thoughts and feelings when I write. Connecting to a deep inner meaningful flow helps me to unfold new ideas, characters and plot direction. Also if I don’t think too much, this allows me to track dream-like flickers of experience and make them meaningful to my story. I know what I can’t do and I get experienced help because others have travelled this road before me, so I don’t have to ‘re-invent the wheel.’ I also never give up.
I am a published author as well as a Process Oriented Therapist. My novel way to write a novel uses the same principles as in therapy. Deep listening to myself, being present in the moment and open to change, curiosity and creativity, awareness, humour, a ‘light touch’ and fluidity. I also listen to my unconscious by exploring what doesn’t immediately make sense to my rational mind and trust my wisdom. The book you are writing already knows what needs to be written, similar to all of us having our own answers but sometimes not knowing what they are yet.
If you need to take the next step but don’t know how to do that, listen and observe deeply all the signals and messages that your characters are giving you. They will tell you who they are, what they are feeling, and how to go next level in the story. Enjoy, have fun, visualize your characters, move like them, dance like them, talk like them. Immerse yourself and become them. They are a role in your head, just like different roles in movies.
I have recently learned that some writers plot and plan their book while others, like me, just write. We are all different and just need to learn what works best. Everyone told me it wasn’t possible for an unknown author to get a publisher, but it wasn’t true. They also said it was more difficult for a book of individual stories of Western people having their life changed by meeting a Buddhist teacher. Now I have re-published my paperback as an eBook on Amazon and Apple. I feel that if I can do it, anyone can!
Follow your “calling and path of heart” when writing and in life. Notice how you ignore and marginalize what you need to do next and how you distract yourself with everything else. I do this sometimes as part of the creative writing process and it gives me time and space for my ideas to percolate. Other times I don’t quite believe in the plot direction etc. and need a break to establish a new way to shift gears. It can also be procrastination and I need to make a leap and just write! Try this simple exercise and see if it helps you write in a fresh way.
If you sit down to write and nothing happens and you feel stuck, don’t panic! A simple skill is to just look around the room or out the window. See what ‘flirts’ with you. In other words the first thing that catches your attention. It could be a color or shape or picture or tree or bird. Then start to write about it. You may think it has nothing to do with your book, but your book starts in your mind. At a more profound level, what flirts with you will connect with your deeper dreaming process and will unblock your writing.
Listen to constructive feedback if you receive similar messages from more than three people! However, trust your characters, your motivation, and your intuition. It’s your book.
Get a great editor who totally ‘gets you’ and that you have a good connection with. This is a necessity.
The key to writing in a novel way is to be happy, especially when you are writing. Otherwise, it will just feel like a long slog and not only to you, but also to your readers.
Do you connect to your unconscious self when you write? Do you think that your writing can improve by doing so? Please leave a comment.
Sherry Marshall is the author of A Search for Meaning. Connecting with Buddhist Teachers, published in paperback by Simon and Schuster. The book is now available as an eBook on Amazon and Smashwords/Apple.
Sherry. Marshall (BSc. Sociology; MAA Social Work, AMHSW; Masters Science, Social Ecology; Faculty Director Australia and New Zealand Process Oriented Psychology and Sydney Process Counseling) is an individual and relationships therapist and group facilitator.
She writes about psychology, therapy, relationships, Buddhism and personal development. She is interviewed in the Australian Sydney Morning Herald online newspaper, recently, speaking about “Does commuting make you miserable?” and “How to beat stress.” She talks on the radio in Australia on topics such as happiness, relationships, stress and dreams.
She is currently writing a love story set in the Himalayas and a fiction book about dogs. In her life and work she combines her love for meditation with Process Oriented Psychology and writing. She enjoys traveling and is passionate about developing inner and outer freedom, exploring awareness, deep wisdom and creating a meaningful life for others.
Read more blogs and articles at Sherry’s website
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