In my writing workshops and online courses, we do a lot of fear-busting. And I teach my magic technique learned from my songwriting days. This gets you back in a balanced state of mind, writing freely and easily, and with joy. But sometimes fear can still creep up in other ways.
My upcoming book began, as everything does, in my journal. I knew there was another book in me. It was three years since I had published Just Write It! and something was bubbling up inside me. I took myself off to Starbucks, daily, to write. For me, there is something about writing in coffee shops that kickstarts my writing process. Then once I’m in the flow, I can effectively write from home after that.
I wanted to write about serendipity and about love, but to do that I had to explore some darker stuff around loss and grief. Freewriting and journaling got me to a place where I had a book proposal for Heart, Sass & Soul. It allowed me to get out all the gunk that stood in the way of the book that was trying to come through.
But towards the end of the proposal process, I came down with tonsillitis, which lasted for 10 days. Now, being a long-time student of personal development, I know that physical illnesses also have an emotional / psychological / spiritual component.
In fact, my doctor searched high and low for a reason for my swollen left tonsil but couldn’t find one. There were no bacteria, and the typical viruses that cause tonsillitis weren’t present. All she could say was that an unknown virus was aggressively attacking my throat. After a week, she got a little worried and ordered more tests. Each one negative. Nothing was medically wrong.
Heart, Sass & Soul is far more personal than my first book and is full of personal stories. Pulling it together was a catharsis. Through journaling, I expressed far more than went into the final proposal. And I think the extent of the emotions swirling around my body had to go somewhere to get out. It’s now a medical fact that we store emotions in our cells. And I can’t help but think that a hell of a lot were stored in my tonsils.
Throughout those days, I kept getting flashes of memories. Some pretty benign like the amazing leather jacket I bought after graduation from second-hand shop. Some more unpleasant, like thoughts and feelings of when I felt I was treated unfairly or harshly.
I realised it was fear speaking, and I needed to feel the fear and do it anyway. Fear was rattling round my body like an old knock-kneed skeleton, trying to find its way out. And the only way out for me, was to journal through it. And almost as suddenly as it came about, my tonsil went down. It shrunk and shrunk, and my throat truly felt better than before. (I tried to explain that to my doctor, but she wasn’t having any of it!) Feelings are real, and emotions are energy, and energy has to go somewhere.
Yes, joyful writing is a part of what I teach, but that doesn’t mean that we ignore the negative. We work through it, treating ourselves kindly, with healing love. And we keep writing. Above all, we keep writing.
Greta Solomon is a British journalist turned writing coach and the author of Heart, Sass & Soul: Journal Your Way to Inspiration and Happiness, out on 15 April 2019. The book is available to pre-order now on Amazon. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heart-Sass-Soul-Inspiration-Happiness/dp/1633539741/ Greta is offering a free writing masterclass worth £77 for everyone who pre-orders before 17 March. To claim that gift visit https://www.gretasolomon.com/preorder-gift-with-heart-sass-soul