Jan 09 2018
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3 steps to banish blocks through expressive writing

Banish blocks through expressive writing

Writing through Trauma to Truth teacher Shawna Ayoub Ainslie touts the efficacy of expressive writing for moving past blocks and getting your creativity flowing again.

In my teaching practice, writers most frequently come to me with the question of how to get the words out. They feel stuffed so full of their own stories they are choking, or their stories flee as soon as they have the time to look at them. Expressive writing is a great tool for easing stories out. An article by John F Evans on Psychology Today defines it as a practice which “pays more attention to feelings than the events, memories, objects, or people in the contents of a narrative.”

In my experience, this style of writing allows you to keep your head above water. Here’s how I instruct stuck clients to use expressive writing to thrive in their flow instead of going under:


I’m not being glib here. The greatest hurdle is getting yourself to the page. The second greatest hurdle is using the page. It doesn’t matter what you write. It can be nonsense. There is no need for the application of grammar. Just write. Write that you don’t know what to write and that it feels really weird to be writing that you don’t know what to write. Set a timer for 10-20 minutes and write.

Emotionally engage with what you wrote.

Take a few minutes after your timed writing to jot down a few notes on how that process or any thoughts that arose made you feel. This is a phenomenal self-care practice. Hard feelings can come up when you take away the writing boundaries. Or maybe the process of writing every thought in your head kinda icked you out. That’s okay. Make notes of what you felt when and where.

Make note of any stories you became aware you were holding.

Fiction, nonfiction, poetry—all stem from life. The best writing is that which holds poignant grains of truth which are universally relatable. The great news is you don’t have to force these to come out. Expressive writing pulls them out of you because it allows you to pay attention to the thoughts swarming your mind and give them space on the page. What gems arose? What stories surprised you?

Perhaps you are in the throes of holiday decompression. Memories and emotions are flooding you. Using these tips will support you in stepping back into your creative flow, aid you in releasing your thoughts, and help you discover what stories you need to tell.

Do you or will you try expressive writing as a catalyst for creativity? Share with us!

Related reading: 5 techniques for accessing your creative flow

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