Only a Thought Away

Jill Bolte Taylor is a brain scientist and the renowned author of A Stroke of Insight, which describes her experience and insights from stroke she suffered at age 37. Taylor gained great wisdom from her stroke, and one of those “strokes of insight” is that inner peace is just a thought away.

It’s simple, really, but hugely complicated, right? Just a thought away? And why would you want to feel inner peace anyhow? All you want to do is write, for goodness sake.

I believe that good writing comes from a creative charge deep inside and from an urgency to share your story or stories with others. It can also come from a desire to explore your experience with and for yourself through writing. After that initial creative charge passes, further writing on the same subject or piece can require more left brain qualities: discipline and determination, maybe a writing schedule or calendared date with yourself.

Inner peace fits in right here. Inner peace allows you to sit still, and writing takes that kind of stillness. Inner peace is comfortable with solitude, and memoir writing likes a tranquil environment where you can access the privacy of the mind where memory and imagination naturally interweave.

But how do you feel inner peace while you’re writing about something that is emotionally distressing? A lot of my memoir students tell me they get restless when they’re writing, that they can’t stay at the computer long enough to get anything finished.

Memoir writing takes being courageous and being willing to be vulnerable. That’s where good, honest writing can happen. It’s how you not only get to write but get to finish what you write. Vow to discover what is there when you let yourself  be vulnerable, to see and be seen even when there’s no guarantee of how it will turn out.

Brene Brown, researcher and professor at the University of Houston, speaks eloquently on the power of vulnerability. She believes that what makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful. I’d like to translate that for the writer: What makes you vulnerable makes you real, and what makes you real makes you beautiful. It means you say what needs to be said, you write from the heart. Write on, say what needs to be said, find that place of inner peace to write from. It’s only a thought away.


For more on memoir writing and other good stuff, visit my website (and blog there) and my blogsite, on Treasures of the Day. |

3 responses to “Only a Thought Away

  1. Thanks for thiswritten post. I been struggle with lots of restlessness, but as I persist it seems to get easier. Sometimes giving
    myself permission to go for a walk or pull a few weed in the garden gives me time and earth connection to be able to face the pain of the past. Solitude is hugely importantand I write best when I can have a whole morning or afternoon to myself. I sit at the keyboard and the only thing I hear beyond the tapping of the keys is magnificent bird song. It’s then that the words seem to flow.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience. Persistence is good, nature is nurturing, and together they can work wonders. Maybe that “thought away” is thinking of listening to the birdsong, or stepping outside and breathing in the fresh, clearing air.

  2. Wow. Good synthesis and suggestions for some of the most heartfelt conflicts writers–especially memoir writers–face.

    One of these points is so practical: inspiration, yes. Perspiration, yes.
    Edison: “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Spoken statement (c. 1903); published in Harper’s Monthly (September 1932)

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