December 4, 2018

Writing from The Heart

By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief, Southern Writers Magazine

Nancy Slonim Aronie wrote Writing from the Heart: Tapping the Power of Your Inner Voice in 1998. The description of the book is: “With warm, lively, often humorous anecdotes, advice, and lessons, this unique approach to creative writing as a path to healing the self-shows how to reverse the damaging effects done to writers in school, where red pens disciplined grammar and taught them to mistrust their natural ability as storytellers--freezing them in their creative tracks.”

Nancy has been a commentator for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. She was a Visiting Writer at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, wrote a monthly column in McCall’s magazine and was the recipient of the Eye of The Beholder Artist in Residence award at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Nancy won teacher of the year award for all three years she taught at Harvard University for Robert Coles.

There is a quote from Nancy that I love, she said, “If you feel safe, you can do anything. You can take the risk of saying this is who I am, this is what terrifies me, this is what moves me, this is what makes me laugh. When you take that risk, you dig deep. You will access your innocence, your truth and your vulnerability and then you cannot miss.”

You will find schedules of her Chillmark Writing Workshops at this link.

Sometimes it is hard for writers to write from the heart, to do this we have to open ourselves up and let people see the real us, and that makes us vulnerable. We don’t want to be vulnerable. We might get hurt, disappointed, made fun of, and criticized. We don’t want to be judged.

Words can bring peace or war; love or hate, they can make someone feel they have value, or the words can belittle them, and they feel they are nothing. These aren’t only the spoken words, these are also the written words.

Our words from the heart are powerful. Those words can change a nation. We have all read many books that were written from the heart––some made us feel like we could move mountains, while others made us feel we didn’t have what it took to be somebody or to do anything grand.

When we are full of emotions, it’s a great time to write from the heart. Think about holding your baby for the first time and all those emotions that came pouring out of your heart. What you felt, what you thought, words were bubbling over in your heart.

Or the last time you held your mother’s hand and said goodbye. How did you feel, what were your emotions? Even through your tear’s words were bubbling over in your heart.

The emotions that come when someone deliberately hurts you with words, there is a great deal of words in our hearts, and emotions are mixed with hurt, disappointment and anger.

For a writer who keeps a journal, these emotions I’ve mentioned are great to list in the journal while they are fresh. You can go back at anytime and relive those emotions. Emotions are normally raw when they hurt. Which is different from the emotions of joy and gladness?

I hope you will spend some time listing things you are passionate about and the emotions you feel when you think about them. These are great emotions to bring into your writing!

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