There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create.
I love Valentine’s Day. A day to shower my sweethearts Steve (my husband) and Sam (my son) and Lexie and Nettie (our pooches) with love notes and treats.
Showering them with love makes me feel present and alive. Not surprising given that love connects us to our creative source.
When we are in the energy of love, we expand. We speak. We become. We show up and are present in the moment as our true authentic self. We see through eyes of love. We speak clearly from the truth of who we are.
When we are in the energy of fear, we constrict, pull back, and become pinched off from our voice, our vision, our self. Our vision becomes clouded. We see through eyes of fear.
Neale Donald Walsch puts it this way: “There are only two emotions at the core of human experience: love and fear.”
What do love and fear have to do with your writing?
So many women I work with, myself included, are writing memoirs about difficult experiences that we had to overcome in order to become who we were born to be: the writer telling the tale.
But writing about difficult experiences, even from a distance, can trigger the energy of fear that surrounded the original experience.
When we write memoir, we want to write beneath the fear to the deeper, universal truth at the nub of our experience, a nub I call “the treasure in the wreck.” (Thank you, Adrienne Rich.)
Often, we must navigate fear as we write our way to this deeper treasure.
An essential part of our writing practice, then, becomes recognizing the fear for what it is and staying connected to our power—our voice and vision—despite the rise of fear.
Fear keeps us from writing. Love returns us to writing.
This boils down to choosing love over fear. To remain in love with your writing no matter the challenges it presents.
A similar point was made by the writer of 1 John in the New Testament: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”
What better time to practice loving your writing—being in the energy of love in relationship to your writing—than Valentine’s Day!
As Valentine’s Day approaches, I encourage you to love your wise writing self, that part of you that has never been wounded despite your life circumstances, that part of you that is wholly alive and wants to write. Indeed, the flame within you that lights your impulse to write. Here are five ideas to get your started.
5 Ways to Love Your Writing Self This Valentine’s Day
1. Write a love letter to your writing self. That part of you that continues to write against all odds, even when you are hell-bent on giving up on yourself, your writing, your story. This can be a simple Valentine’s card, a post card, or a letter. Writing a love note to yourself may sound corny, but it can go a long way to reconnecting you to your deep, wise writing self.
2. Write a list of 10 things you love about your writing. Make that 20 things or 50 or 100. By deliberately noting what you love about your writing, you will come closer to remembering why you write. This why will carry you through challenges that arise in your writing projects. Having it on your radar will return you to love in the face of fear.
3. Treat your writing self to a Valentine gift. Whatever your heart desires. A new notebook? A leather bound journal? Dark chocolate truffles?
4. Books! Treat yourself to an afternoon at your favorite bookstore. Browse. Splurge. Enjoy as you feed that part of you that loves to read.
5. Schedule a writer’s date with yourself. Actually schedule a time on your calendar that you will meet yourself for a date, wherever you want to go to do whatever you want to do. Perhaps this will be a date to a coffee shop to write. Perhaps you’ve been wanting to visit a local art exhibit. Whatever you do for your date, show up as the writer you are and see the entire experience through your writer’s eyes—eyes of love.
Go on, flood your writing self with love in as many ways as you can. Let love tip the balance of your writing practice back to expansion, connection, creativity, and joy, which is of course your deeper truth.
How are you going to treat your writing self this Valentine’s Day? Let us know in the comments so that we can bounce off each other’s ideas and spark that many more ways to love our writing selves.