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Photo credit: ...-Wink-... / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: …-Wink-… / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

For over five years, I have had the joy of sitting in a circle and writing with women in Athens, Georgia. Each season a new circle opens at Womanspace, and I joined. I have circled with many different women over the seasons, and I have greatly enjoyed what they have given to me and what they have witnessed me bring to our circles.

Also, this is where I was first introduced to writing prompts. The circles are based on the notion of writing therapy grounded in memoir, and it is called Women Writing their Lives. Generally our facilitator, Autumn, brings writing prompts to each session, and we write from two to ten minutes on each prompt. Some prompts are from Natalie Goldberg, Anne Lamott, Julia Cameron, Pema Chodron–anything that resonates; sometimes we bring in a picture, words, or snippets from our own writing.

Some of my favorites are:
What I want to say is….
I remember/I don’t remember…
I feel… I need… I value…
Before I go, I need to tell you this….
Tell me about a recent potent conversation you’ve had…
Tell me what you stand for…
What I see/What I don’t see…

Heidi's journal

Heidi’s journal

The beauty of these prompts is they are a doorway into my mind and into my heart. I am usually surprised by what I write. It’s like the censor has been suspended and I can truly access what it is that has draped itself over my heart.

Prompts are a great way to kickstart my brain before I start writing for the day, when I get stuck with my writing, or just to crack open my feeling self. Prompts allow my censor to step out of the room, get a cup of coffee, and leave me alone for a few minutes while I engage with my inner self. So, as Natalie Goldberg says, get a fast writing pen, some paper, and don’t let your hand leave the page. Write, write, write. No crossing out, just write. If you get stuck, write the prompt over and over until you get the click, the crack, the opening that lets you dump it all onto the page. I plan to share some more of my favorite writing prompts with you, as well as what has come from them. I’d love to hear how it goes and what you write! If you are interested in joining me in a Writing Circle, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me! Happy writing!