One of my favorite writing prompts is, “My soul whispers…”
I ask students that take my Fear & Writing course and Fear & Writing workshop to freewrite to this prompt and it always seems to bring up good stuff.
In case you’re not sure what it is, freewriting is when you allow yourself to write anything that comes up (preferably with pen and paper) in response to a prompt and you don’t edit as you write. You can time yourself or not.
Here’s what came up when I freewrote to this prompt earlier this summer. What you see below is exactly what I wrote–I didn’t edit any of it.
MY SOUL WHISPERS…don’t give up, Peg.
Yes, you’ve had some major setbacks with your writing but this is all par for the course. You’re doing the work you need to do to prepare for challenging projects coming up. You’re in training for a major event and it can take years to train.
It feels frustrating, I know, to keep writing novels, screenplays, stories, and they don’t lead to tangible results. Much of what you’ve written has not been seen by anyone except a few beta readers.
It’s hard. I know you want your stuff out there. I know you want to communicate with people and help them in some way. Just know that you are doing that now with your blog posts and your newsletters, and someday, you will do that with your books and possibly, your scripts too.
Just please don’t give up hope, and please don’t stop trying. It’s tiring, it’s frustrating, it’s depressing, I know. But it won’t always be this way.
You need to know how to keep writing no matter what. No matter if no one is reading your stories or millions of people are reading your stories, you need to keep writing.
This period of time is about developing your rock solid discipline, about practicing your craft, and about listening to yourself and knowing when you need self-care. This time is about building a strong and bulletproof foundation.
You can do this and you will be able to handle anything that comes your way, whether good, bad, or something in between. This is about trusting yourself, trusting the Universe, and having the courage to take that step forward every day.
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. But they aren’t. YOU’RE doing it. I am SO PROUD of you. KEEP GOING, PEG!
This message feels especially poignant as I’m riding the high of having successfully launched my first Kickstarter campaign (thanks to every marvelous human who pledged!). The high won’t last long. It never does. After it dissipates, it’s back to work, and it’s back to facing fears and doubts as I move forward one step, one sentence, at a time.
If you’re at a crossroads in your life, or need some help from your inner wise self, give this prompt a try. Put pen to paper and find out: what is your soul whispering to you?
Peg Cheng is the author of The Contenders, a novel that asks, can enemies become friends? She is currently writing a book about how to retire as a millionaire even if you make a modest income. Peg is also the creator of Fear & Writing, a workshop for procrastinating writers from all walks of life.
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash