As writers, we don’t have a lot of tools. A computer, pen and paper. Oh we can buy all sorts of software and hardware to support us, but basically all we really need is something to write with and a scrap of paper. Not like, say, a contractor, or a graphic designer, or a landscaper.
I’m always envious of professions that require a lot of tools, because if I had tools, then I’d have an excuse. As in, Oh my hoe needs sharpening so I’ve got to take a break from weeding. Or, Damn, don’t have the right color! Guess I’ll have to go to the art supply store after lunch. But alas, the tools of my trade are readily and cheaply available in every home.
However. One thing we writers can avail ourselves of are mental tools. Because writing is a mental game above all else. We basically make shit up out of thin air and then put it on paper. If that’s not mental, I don’t know what is. But the same brain that can weave intricate plots can also trick us into getting blocked. Into worrying about the quality of the words we’re putting on the page. Into convincing ourselves that its more important to mop the kitchen floor than write. And so I’m all about the mental tools we can use.
Enter EFT, or the Emotional Freedom Technique, also sometimes known as tapping. It is an “energy” technique that anybody can learn in a couple of seconds and then use to deal with all kinds of things. Literally. Gary Craig, the founder of EFT, says, “Try it on anything.” And by this he means anything ranging from physical to mental to emotional pain. (His site is an excellent place to begin.) I’ve known people who use it to control chronic pain, and my own coach used it to heal from extreme anxiety and depression over a traumatic experience when nothing else helped.
What is it? I think of it as similar to acupuncture, in which you are activating the meridians of the body through pressure. In the case of EFT, a simple routine of tapping certain points while you state the issue you’re dealing with. There’s a diagram of tapping points here (scroll down to headline EFT Tapping Points) or here. You can start out with the negative side of the issue and flow it into the positive, or just keep repeating the negative bits. Don’t get too hung up on the mechanics–how long to tap on each point, or if you’re doing it correctly. Just do it. You might find yourself yawning or burping as things release.
How to use it for writing? There’s a variety of ways. But here are just a few:
–When you are blocked. Start tapping: “Even though I don’t know what to write next, I still love and respect myself.” That love and respect myself bit is the basic, starting point script. But you don’t have to say that. You can just go off on the negative: “God, here I am again. I don’t know where to go in my writing. It’s been weeks and I haven’t written a word. I can’t call myself a writer. This is ridiculous.” Tap and talk out all your frustrations. At some point you might start to feel better and then you can do a “maybe” bridge into the positive. “Maybe I don’t know what to write next because I haven’t taken the time to properly plan. Maybe I’m just convincing myself I’m blocked and a failure because I’m scared.” And then on into the positive. You might find more things to tap about. If som have at it.
–When you want insight into your plot or characters, or any aspect of your book. Talk it out while you’re tapping. Keep a notebook nearby so you can record the inspirations you’ll get.
–When you are nervous about some aspect of your writing career. Maybe you’re teaching a workshop, or doing a signing or a reading and you’re scared. Maybe you’re launching a book. Tap away, baby!
–When you’re procrastinating. You really need to get that project done, but you don’t want to. Tap on it!
These are just a few suggestions. You can see how flexible the system is. And, while you can hire a tapping coach or take classes or certifications, none of that is necessary. You can start immediately, on your own, and in minutes have results. How does it work? Damned if I know. It’s like acupuncture–I don’t get exactly how that works, either, but I know it does!
Have you tried EFT for writing? Or do you have other favorite techniques? Leave a comment!
And don’t forget I’m currently offering free 15-minute connection calls. Let’s chat about writing. Click here to be taken to my scheduling page.
Photo credit: bloodylery.
I recommend you spend time asking the Google about EFT. There’s a ton of stuff out there. And if it all seems mysterious and slightly off-putting, keep an open mind. Aren’t you will to do just about anything that will help you improve your writing and get you to the page more often? Of course you are. So try it. And leave a comment about how it worked for you.