Jackee Holder is an author, coach, keynote speaker and journal passionista. Jackee delivered a journaling and reflective writing workshop at the 2015 Barefoot Winter Conference and here she shares some exercises from the session, as well as her top tips for writing for personal and professional growth.
You have permission to spell incorrectly and to abandon proper grammar and punctuation.
These were some of the ‘Rules of Engagement’ agreed to at the start of my workshop at the recent Barefoot Coaching Winter Conference.
I know this idea was challenging for the perfectionists amongst us but allowing yourself this freedom when writing works wonders for creativity and helps fight what I call ‘perfect writing syndrome’.
The IPad users in the group were also challenged, as all of the writing done in the workshop was analogue - writing longhand in a notebook with a pen or pencil. Research findings indicate that writing longhand leads to better memory retention and slows down your thinking to produce better quality thoughts and ideas.
During the workshop, I encouraged the coaches I was working with to try a range of writing tools and techniques, including a three minute free writing exercise that busted the myth that you need to set aside a good chunk of time to write. It was great to see the delegates’ surprise as they discovered the thoughts and ideas that poured out onto the page in such a short space of time.
Delegates also experimented with writing lists (which can be great when you’re pressed for time or want to get quickly to the point) to generate audits of their strengths and successes, both at work and in their personal lives. We used the contents of these lists to imagine making use of these qualities to achieve future goals.
Used in these ways, journaling and reflective writing are accessible and insightful ways of promoting creative, self-directed professional development for coaches and coach supervisors.
Here are my top tips for growing your writing confidence:
- You don’t have to be in a good mood or even the right mood to write – just write for short amounts of time.
- Schedule in time to write in your calendar or diary just like you would any other appointment. This is a proven way of making sure you act and make time to write on a regular basis.
- The more you write the more you will discover your own area of personal coaching passion and expertise. A regular writing practice will help you generate content that supports your passion and areas of expertise. Soon you can use writing to support you in growing your business.
- When it comes to writing, don’t fake it. Be real. Vulnerability and humility do wonders for generating moving content. If in doubt check out shame researcher Brené Brown’s Ted Talk and her subsequent books on vulnerability.
- Have a problem with the blank page? Make a list of topics or themes you want to write about.
- Trust that someone out there wants to read what you have to say. I’ll leave you with this quote from broadcaster Ira Glass: “If you write something beautiful and important, and the right person somehow discovers it, they will clear room for you on the bookshelves of the world at any age. At least try.”
Jackee has a series of free writing and personal development resources for download on her website www.jackeeholder.com. Her book 49 Ways To Write Yourself Well contains 49 writing prescriptions for well-being and personal growth.