Why write longhand?
Long hand writing is when you write down your thoughts in sentences exactly as they come. It calms your mind by slowing down thought, putting one thought after the other, and providing a way to visualize your thoughts. Using stream of conscious writing allows you to document the continuous flow of thought.
Writing this way is called Writing Therapy. It involves creating a safe space for this continuous thought and then reflecting on it afterwards. When we become more aware of our thoughts we're able to process emotions much easier. We also tap into our higher conscious that knows our highest good.
What do I write about?
Your only limit is you.
There really is no right or wrong way to do writing therapy. The main idea is to get every thought down onto the page which requires a lot of self-permission. You must use the page to free yourself from any thoughts that feel heavy or block your truth.
You can also use the page to clear out the clutter in your mind. We often have an ongoing to do list in the back of our minds. Writing out all the little things we feel we need to remember makes more room in your mind for creative thought.
Developing the strength to see your thoughts without judgement requires strength and bravery. It can be hard to face parts of ourselves that have been hiding under the junk. Its important to know that when it feels hard to write, that’s when you need it most.
When we first start a writing practise we want to set intentions. It’s helpful to answer the question “what do I hope to get out of this?”
You can ask for
Healing: use the page to process emotion and develop love and understanding
Clarity: ask questions about what you want and what’s important to you
Dreaming: give space to contemplate what your dream life looks and feels like
Inner Peace: define what makes you feel whole
Connection: strengthen your inner relationship
Guidance: ask for help
Self-Discovery: learn more about who you are and what you need
Release: let go of what no longer serves you. Leave it on the page.
Next Steps: determine what you should be focusing on next
Awareness: gain a deeper knowing of the self
Strength: deal with life’s natural hardships
Courage: instill bravery and overcome fear
Confidence: practice self belief and self empowerment
Self-Discipline: talk about your habits and making good choices for your highest good
Truth: be honest with yourself. Let it all out in private.
Expansion: learn what is means for your individual souls evolution
Higher Consciousness: tap into a higher knowing
Gratitude: write out the people, events, emotions, and gifts you are thankful for
Affirmative: write out affirmations to invoke positive thought
After we set our intentions, we want to set some goals.
Length of Time:
You can set a goal around a length of time you want to be writing.
20 minutes a day
This would work if you know you will be able to write continuously for twenty minutes. This means you set your timer and your pen doesn’t stop moving across the page until the time is up. This is great for beginners because it allows you to go inside without going too deep that might cause resistance. You might also want to start at this level and work your way up.
60 minutes a day
This works for those who need more time to think of what to say. Its also easier for long time writers.
Length of Writing:
Or you can set a goal around an amount of writing you get done.
This is a great starting goal because you know exactly when you’ve hit your goal even if it may take you awhile. You can also start out with a smaller notebook so you have less room to write and then work your way up to a larger notebook.
This is the gold mine: the ultimate goal. Science has shown that writing this amount can give us clear access to our sub-conscious mind. This amount of writing allows us to really get in there and explore deeper parts of ourselves. It does take time and emotional strength to get to this level and is something you should strive for. Again you can work your way up by changing the size of your notebooks.
Play around with the time of day that you write at and the number of days during the week that you write. When first starting out it’s important to have one or two days off a week.
If you feel like you need more writing you can always change it.
You can also schedule your writing into Types:
Ex. Mondays - write for clarity
Tuesdays - write for awareness
Wednesday - break or free writing
Thursday - writing for brainstorming my dreams
Friday - free thought
Saturday - gratitude journalling
If being flexible around your writing practise works better for you, your goal might look like 1 page of writing 3x a week. If you need more of a structure it might be at the same time everyday for a certain amount of time.
My personal writing goal is 1 page when I wake up on the days I have my mornings to myself. I feel personally that’s what helps me get out all my thoughts, feel clarity about the day, and perform better at work. This usually takes me an hour but I don’t leave my page until I’ve finished so sometimes it takes longer. You could time yourself for 30 minutes a day if that feels better than setting a page limit.
Choosing Your Notebook
When choosing a notebook, think about the size, the feel, the look, and the feelings that ignite inside you when you hold it.
Notebooks are very individual and you should be very thoughtful when choosing one. It must spark a desire within you to write. You will get more out of your writing if it is something you enjoy and feel good about.
Be mindful of whether you want to change the size of your notebooks. You could have a bigger notebook that you write in once a week, and a smaller notebook you use throughout the week.
My recommendation would to be to start small and work your way up and be mindful of how each writing session makes you feel. Have fun and be flexible about it. Writing blocks are common and you will learn how to navigate through them by returning to the page as much as possible.
Practise Non-judgement and Limit Expectations
Your writing practice is entirely up to you. All that matters is that you write even when it gets hard. When you feel a resistance to writing, it's because there is an emotion or topic you’re avoiding. When this happens, talk about why you don’t want to talk about it. Talk about how uncomfortable it feels to think that you have to venture that deep. You can talk about how you’re not ready for healing or that you’re not yet sure how to handle this emotion.
A note on Quality:
You do not have to be a good writer. Writing Therapy is not about grammar or sentence structure or poetry. It’s about removing censorship from your mind and allowing yourself to be as you are. Anything goes. Practise acceptance as you move through unfamiliar emotion.
Your writing practice is your way of talking to yourself. It’s important to remember that whatever we write is perfectly acceptable. We want to make sure that we make writing a safe space for our thoughts and feelings. Thoughts like “ugh I shouldn’t have wrote that” often translates to “I shouldn’t be feeling that.” We want to practice radical acceptance as we move forward on our path to healing.
How can this post help you?
What can you learn from this?
How can you apply this information to make it work for you?