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Write from the heart to capture your reader’s heart

Sometimes, I forget the simple things. Working on my fantasy novel, I’ve been caught up in figuring out plot points and events and looking at the larger picture which is great–all stuff that needs to be done. But I’ve also been reminded lately of the most important aspect of telling a good story–writing from the heart.

I gave a poetry reading last weekend with two other poets and several people came up after the reading to tell me their favorite poems. In every case, they were the poems that I wrote one hundred percent from the heart–from that space of total abandon and honesty.

These poems were eventually shaped by craft but when first written, the only thing I was concerned with was getting the words and feelings out on the page. Some of these–including the piece that recently won Honorable Mention at the Surrey International Writers Conference–also had a bit of humor because, for me, humor is one way to temper pain. It’s my little release valve. And it’s effective for the reader because it gives them a release as well. Otherwise, the feelings may become too uncomfortable and the reader may put down my poem or story.

So, I’m taking this lesson into my novel. For me, it works best if I take a plot point or possible event for the story and do a hand-written (pen on paper) timed write. For 30 to 40 minutes I just write whatever comes out.

If I feel unfocused or scattered, I start by closing my eyes, taking a deep breath, and bringing my awareness into my heart center. When I’m centered and have my question, plot point or character in mind, then I start my timer and begin to write.

Try it. Pick a subject, set your timer for 20 minutes, and write from the heart. Forgot about plot or character or anything else. What does your heart say?

P.S. For participants in NaNoWriMos, this is an excellent way to increase your word count!

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