The Spiritual Practice of Timed Writings

Day 349…

I went to my first Natalie Goldberg workshop/retreat in 2001 because I wanted to be a writer.  I had read her book, Writing Down the Bones, several years earlier, but it wasn’t until I read her book  Long Quiet Highway that I signed the teacher retirement papers, ready to explore this desire to be a writer.

Her workshops don’t teach how to edit your manuscript, get an agent, or write a query letter.  We are given suggested readings prior to the retreat and she reads to us from works that inspire her and tells a bit of her past.  We do sitting meditations and walking meditations.  And we write.  She gives us a topic and for ten minutes we write.   Without pause or editing, we push our pens past self conscious thoughts of those around us and first thoughts of the topic at hand.  Over and over we write.  Then Natalie asks if anyone would like to read.  Several read their raw, unedited ramblings and we respond with a simple thank you.  No personal reactions or critique.  No judgments.  Just a simple “thank you.”

I continue to write timed writings, using phrases or ideas spinning in my head, pieces of overheard conversations, scenarios from the day.  Writing past self-consciousness or first thoughts.  Dropping  deeper.

I realize now, ten years later, that it translates into my day-to-day interactions, moving me past personal reactions or critiques of my raw, unedited thoughts.  Past judgments of self and the “topics” around me. To acceptance.  With a simple “thank you.”

Writing topic:  Timed writings


3 responses to this post.

  1. I like this Laura, especially the simple “thank you.” I also like the idea of grabbing one of those thoughts spinning around in my head and writing about it for ten minutes. Laura, thank you. M.


  2. im going to wait for your finished work! im going to read it! >:D


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