Writers tend to work alone, but often find invaluable assistance and guidance from a mentor, coach or critique group. But what if you could have a writing therapist? Someone who could help you delve into and release the things that hold you back from writing success and turn your secret hopes and desires into concrete decisions and plans to become the writer you always wanted to be? If that sounds like what you are looking for, I suggest you pick up a copy of Write Free: Attracting the Creative Life by Rebecca Lawton and Jordan Rosenfeld.
In Write Free, authors Lawton and Rosenfeld provide current and would be authors with a weeks long writer’s workshop in an exercise-filled volume they can work through, armed only with a journal and a pen, at their own pace. Lawton and Rosenfeld’s aim? To help you craft your own life much as you do your writing works, with creativity and joy. To, as the title suggests, write, free of inhibitions and negativity.
Write Free: Attracting the Creative Life is reminiscent of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way in how it connects what writers do with who they are and how they feel. Working through the guided exercises encourages the reader to clear away all that clutters the creative mind and allow pure expression to emerge, and to create and recognize opportunities within their writing practices and their day-to-day living.
And what does it mean to “Write Free”? In Rosenfeld’s words, “’Write Free’ has two meanings to us. First, we use it to mean writing in an open-minded, openhearted state of consciousness. To Write Free is to cover the page with words and to let your creativity be unleashed. Editing and criticism can come later. Second, we believe it expresses the state of writing our deepest desires, as we have done in this book’s activities, to create better, freer lives.”
Write Free is divided into four parts. Each part is comprised of anecdotes of the authors and other writers (including Sweatpants & Coffee’s own Nanea Hoffman), thoughtful analysis related to the subject, and journaling activities. Part one of Write Free, “Clearing”, is devoted to freeing your life of unwanted feelings, and includes exercises to define those feelings, to learn how to let them go, and to replace them with more positive, encouraging life language and experiences. Part two, “Revising”, is where the authors guide you to defining what you want from your writing life—not focusing on longing for what you do not have, but to concretely begin choosing your writing path and actualizing where you want to be as a writer. Part three, “Feeling Your Story”, focuses on recognizing how feelings affect actions, and helps you delve deeper into connecting your own innate intuition to the crafting of the reality of your daily life. Finally, part four, “Write Free”, brings the lessons together and helps you, as the authors say, “learn writing tools that turn wishes and hopes into reality”, including activities that not only help you define timelines for your writing life, but inspiring actions to accomplish them while recognizing the emotions they inspired within you and using those emotions to guide you.
The journaling activities in Write Free are more than just guided writing prompts (although those are included as well)—there are those that encourage deep self-exploration. For example, an exercise in chapter three, called “Leveraging”, is a journaling activity used when one is at a low point in mood. Through free writing about the low point, you stumble across incrementally higher mood statements that lead you up a feelings list until a more positive outlook on life can be appreciated. An exercise in chapter five is an extensive exploration into the “Yeah, but…” moments in life and art, where you learn to examine and challenge those statements head on. Towards the end of the book, exercises like “The Wish List” and “Activity Log” not only encourage you to write down your deepest desires and goals, but to include dates and actions you can take to manifest them into reality.
Write Free: Attracting the Creative Life is an invaluable guide to understanding your artistic mind and strengthening your creative spirit and resolve. Lawton and Rosenfeld firmly believe all that as a writer you have all you need within you to manifest the writing practice you’ve always desired, and that in enacting that practice with an open heart, receptive to the positive signs around you, you can live a life that you love. Rich with encouragement and example, and filled with thought provoking exercises that will get you writing every day, Write Free reminds us that “just a little effort is required every day toward the goal of your creative life,” and that “actually, the word ‘effort’ is misleading; what is required of you each day is attention plus joy.” After working my way through this inspiring volume, I find, and you will too, that attention giving to life and to art is much more joyful and rewarding than ever.