Journal therapy

Journal therapy

5 reasons why developing a writing practice makes sense in 2021. By David Holzer

When I guide people into a writing practice, I’m encouraging them to express their sense of themselves and take control of their place in their world. As we make our way cautiously into 2021, owning a sense of who we are and where we fit has never been more important. Whether they’re written, sung or spoken, the words we use say: “I’m here, I exist, I matter.” Our words are also the way we do seva, service, in this world. When we write, sing or speak our truth, we show others they can do the same.

Here are five ways to help you exercise your right to write in 2021.

1. Writing isn’t about being a writer. It’s only ever about the act of writing. When the words are coming out of you, what matters is that they’re coming. Things like spelling, grammar, clarity and style come later and only if you want them to.

2. There is no one ideal writing routine. Believing you have to conform to a particular writing schedule can be intimidating. Especially when your writing muscle hasn’t developed yet. Write when you want, wherever you want, however you want. But do write every day.

3. If you start out with a goal in mind, great. But you don’t need one. Just start writing and keep going.

If this turns into a blog, how-to book, novel, screenplay, album of songs or whatever, fantastic, but if you don’t have a goal that feels right, don’t worry.

4. I teach yoga for writing. Yoga removes the anxiety that stops me writing, prepares me to sit, focus and write, empowers me to go deep into myself and gives me the discipline I need to keep going. The people with whom I share what I’ve learned agree that yoga and writing go together. The key is breath. Breath used to calm anxiety and clear the way for the words to flow. Try this: Sit comfortably with a straight back. Close your eyes, Take deep breaths through your nose into your abdomen. Breathe in for a count of four and out for four. Watch your thoughts as they come and go. Sit for at least five minutes like this. Blink your eyes open. Write. See what comes out.

5. There will never be a perfect moment to start writing. You’ll always have demands on your time from work, family and the rest of your life. Start. Keep going. You know how your yoga teachers always say: “Getting on the mat is an achievement in itself”? The same is true of writing. Just putting one word down on that blank page or screen is writing. And it will change your life.

David Holzer is the creator of the DailyOm yoga for writing course “The Secret Writing Mantra”. Find out more about what he offers at yogawriters.org