Wild Women, Wild Voices: Writing from Your Authentic Wildness by Judy Reeves
I love the subtitle of this book, “Writing from Your Authentic Wildness” and I really want to see exactly what that entails. Part of me had to put away the actual title when it read it though because I am not a woman. I am, however, a feminist and a writer, and I do have my wild side, so I guess it fits.
Write By Hand
Reeves recommends writing by hand and she’s a big proponent of timed writing assignments. She believes that is the best way to get to our wild voices out and on to the page. I write by hand only when I am journaling, but I can see how doing creative exercises could also benefit from this tactile way of writing.
She explains, “Sometimes when I’m doing timed, focused writing and the time is up but the writing is too hot to quit, I’ll set my timer for another seventeen minutes and continue writing. And still again if the urgency to continue persists. This way I sustain the tension and intensity of the times writing, which for me keeps the pen moving and me pretty much out of the way.”
Her last thought there highlights the fact that we often make excuses, throw up blocks, or stifle our own creativity. We all have an inner-critic that we need to push out of the way to be effective writers.
Cultivate Your Wild Voice
Reeves says, “Wild voice is natural to us all, but even the most experienced writer will tell you it doesn’t always come naturally. Like a garden, sometimes it requires our attention, and sometimes we have to get out of its way and let it do its own wild and natural thing.”
- Here are a few tips on how to develop and nurture your wild voice . . .
- Write often; practice daily
- Take risks. Don’t stop when your hand gets shaky
- Remember to breathe
“Lists – to-do, shopping, notes-to-self – are kind of practical shorthand that most of us use every day . . . Explorations, gets the ‘thinker’ out of the way and allows the deeper, more intuitive thoughts to arise. It’s here we’re given access to material that we mightn’t have come up with if we’d tried to think our way into what matters to us. The more we work intuitively, free of conscious purpose, the more meaningful images and impressions come to us. Also, on the practical side, making a list helps us to compile prompts for additional writing sessions. If it shows up on your lists, there’s likely a story that longs to be told.”
A list can be an effective brainstorming technique. It can give you ideas that you wouldn’t have normally come up with otherwise. And by writing with a pad and pen quickly, you can get your inner critic / censor out of the way.
Pick One Item and Expand on It
“After you rest your fingers from that flurry of writing, choose one [item] from your list and do an extended writing.”
Listen to Your Inner-Voice
“Too often it seems that our rational, orderly mind tells us to accomplish something, check something off our to-do lost, to be productive. On the other hand, our wild nature may be telling us to go and play, or to be lazy, to sit under a leafy tree and daydream. Follow the direction of your inner guide; it knows what you need.”
I like that thought. We can’t always be productive. Sometimes we need down time. We should listen to what our body is telling us and be lazy without guilt (occasionally, of course)
“For eons men, and sometimes women, too, have made light of ‘women’s intuition.’ Yet a more powerful, knowing force does not exist. All humans are gifted with this sixth sense . . . but intuition is strongest in the feminine.”
Writing Exercises aka Explorations
Reeves offers up several writing exercises that you can try. She calls them “Explorations.” I tried one a few days ago, Voice of the Body and it was quite fun and illuminating. I will most definitely be trying more in the coming weeks.
Win a Copy!
If you’d like my copy of this book (complete with pencil underlines and notes,) please contact me and I will send it your way (Canada and USA residents only) If I get multiple requests, I will choose a winner at random. Good luck!
My List of 2015 Reads – my annual reading log with links to every title I read