How Non-Judgmental Listening Improves Writers’ Confidence

Writing is about communication, about sharing our words with others who hear the power and the intention underneath what we have written. Developing strong listening skills is critical for anyone’s growth as a writer. I recently had the privilege of joining an online writing series facilitated by Natalie Goldberg and four of her senior students. During the sessions facilitated by Natalie, I heard her emphasize the importance of listening. In her book, “Writing Down the Bones”, from a chapter called “Listening” on p. 53, Natalie states:

Listening is receptivity. The deeper you can listen, the better you can write. You take in the way things are without judgment, and the next day you can write the truth about the way things are.

I find this to be true within my facilitated writing groups. Writing together and reading aloud to a non-judgmental audience completes the circle of communication. Listening skills and confidence are developed each time participants choose to read their fresh writing aloud, while the listeners remain attentive to the words. The first step of reading aloud without receiving any verbal feedback is an important experience for anyone who may have never shared their words out loud before.

Having one’s words received with no judgment creates confidence in the writer. There’s no reason to feel “less than” or “better than” any other participants; everyone’s words are received in the same way. Let your voice be heard, let your words land on receptive ears. For some people in the writing circles, this may be the first time they truly feel heard.
Feeling seen and heard is important to each one of us, and right now during this time of pandemic, there are many people who are feeling isolated, alone, and hungry for meaningful contact. Being heard and knowing that your words matter is a life-transforming experience. Discover the ways your writing gets stronger, feel your confidence grow when you write and share in a supported circle.

Creatively Yours,

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