December 16, 2017

How to use Writing to Build a Better Life.

“Why would a hard-nosed businessman become a writer?”

I didn’t know what to say to the middle-aged woman who asked the question at a talk I gave a few weeks ago. I finally replied with something sufficiently vague that she just nodded and sat down.

That evening after the talk, I thought about her question more seriously.

I did so the only way I knew how—by writing about it. The only way that any thought of mine can become intelligible (to me or anyone else) is by going through my process, which always means it ends up in written form.

Stephen King famously said, “writing is refined thinking.”

My thinking process starts with a particular question or thought that dominates my mind for hours and days. I keep reflecting on it, unconsciously discussing it with myself, and finally putting pen to paper in my journal. From there, my thoughts might expand to a blog post, a talk, a task at work, or a project. I then revise and refine again and again till I have a final product.

My process of thinking—how my words reach paper—is similar to the preparation of coffee. Coffee passes through many levels of refinement before arriving at our palate in liquid form. Raw beans are roasted, ground, mixed with hot water, and then finally strained and served.

So it is with thoughts.

My interest in writing emerged almost five years ago when I began writing “morning pages” as heralded by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. I would decipher my dreams, then go on to analyze my previous day’s actions and consider in more depth the fears that were holding me back. I would also celebrate my victories, remind myself of all my good qualities, and appreciate the people and things in my life.

Writing has become like breathing to me; I must write to keep living. It has become my way of making sense of myself.

I don’t write for my loved ones. I don’t write to promote my business. I write for me.

We all need to have that “one thing” at our core—a vehicle for going deep into our essence, exploring the mysterious places of our heart, venturing into our past, and confronting painful moments stored away in our subconscious.

Through this creative endeavor, we face the stored up hurt rather than judging or numbing our feelings away for fear of meeting them. We allow our highest self to express.

In the last few years, my interest has grown into a passion. Writing and I have become one. Writing is me, and I am writing. Writing is now the foundation on which I lay all other building blocks to produce a better life for myself.

Writing transformed me. It released me from the shackles that had held me back since childhood. It has led to many of my spiritual trysts, wherein I meet my true self and feel the power of grace within me. It has penetrated deep into my soul, always asking and forever searching for the best way to be authentic.

I am still in my toddler years as a writer, but already writing has taught me many lessons that I can apply in my life. It has stripped me of my arrogant egoic ways and taken me out of the closed-box mentality that defined me for so many years.

I have been consistently blogging for the past two years, with one blog post per week. I rise early, meditate for 20 minutes, read for another 30 minutes while having my coffee, and then finally journal my thoughts for 20 minutes. These written thoughts then germinate in my mind. When I come back from work in the late afternoon, I find myself ready to write the first draft of a blog post or some words toward a book chapter.

This discipline of sharing myself—my soul—has not only changed me, but has also inspired many others to dig deeper into their hearts and lives. It has culminated in my first book, The Shift, in which I discuss the various human experiences that resonate with all of us.

I know that if I remain faithful to my writing and work to strengthen my inner voice, then I will become more consistently connected to my higher self.

And ultimately, this connection will bring greater mastery of the craft and broader service to humanity.

This is why I write, and why I will keep writing.


Author: Mo Issa
Image: Elephant Archives
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Khara-Jade Warren

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