Writing is about communication– about sharing our words with others who hear the power and the intention behind our words. Developing strong listening skills is critical for anyone’s growth as a writer. In my experience, a meditation practice supports listening and staying present to what is in front of me with no distractions. During a talk by Natalie Goldberg, she emphasized the importance of listening for our evolution as writers. In her book, “Writing Down the Bones”, from a chapter called “Listening” on p. 53, Natalie states:
I’m exploring the importance of silence in my writing, as I revisit times in my life when I have been moved beyond words. I’m curious to discover what may be waiting in the space beyond the silence. The emotion may be overwhelming gratitude, a sense of awe, or deep grief. I believe that beyond that sense of “no words” lies deep truth. It seems ironic to be exploring silence in order to put words on the page. This is an edge of discovery, which I’ll continue to share with you as my journey continues.
There are other reasons for writers to nurture a practice of deep listening. When we write together and read aloud to a non-judgmental audience, we complete 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 is no reason to feel “less than” or “better than” any other participant; 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 my writing circles, this may be the first time they truly feel heard.
Feeling seen and heard is important to each one of us. 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.