While arriving at the edge of what’s obvious can be terrifying (often we’re overly eager to label it “writer’s block”), it is in fact a rich opportunity. If we can muster our strength and take the first few stumbling steps forward, our writing often gains an unexpected dimension. The brain is forced to step down as the primary tour guide, and the gut takes a far more unprofessional lead. Of course, this makes us uncomfortable. The gut is apt to digress wildly into subjects we’re not prepared to tackle. The gut is obsessed with secrets, unresolved emotions, and darkness. But it’s terribly important to trust the gut and follow its meanderings. Some may prove to be red herrings, but others steer us deeper into the heart of the matter-a heart we didn’t know was there.
Write down a question that you wish you knew the answer to. Then write a memory that helps explain the origin of the question. What happened that made this question important? As you write, pay attention to how the story illuminates the question.
from “Writing the Sacred Journey: The Art and Practice of Spiritual Memoir” by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew, Skinner House