the only writing prompt you ever need

The only writing prompt you need

What am I experiencing in this moment? This question always has an answer. Used as a writing prompt during your Soul Scripting practice, it’s as simple as they come. It can also be powerfully illuminating.

The key to squeezing the juice out of this one is consistency. Ask it often and answer it thoroughly. Write in a stream of consciousness. Whether it’s your hunger, your backache, your desire to be doing something else entirely or that you’re thinking about how stupid this exercise is, tell it to the page. Be willing to answer this writing prompt in this way and you might be amazed where it takes you.

You can use yourself as the subject matter or, if you’re working on a piece of creative writing, you can apply the question to characters. It will help you get to the heart and soul of them.

You can even forego the writing completely and meditate on the question.

Use this writing prompt to: 

Get started

When you’re sitting in front of a blank page and want to drop into a flow, begin your sentence with:

‘In this moment I am feeling….’ or ‘Right now I am experiencing…’

Find out how those sentences want to finish themselves and where they take you. Play around with the exact wording to find out what you respond to. By continuing to ask yourself this question you will cultivate a written mindfulness practice and generate an ongoing source of material.

Overcome blocks

The Soul Scripting process involves a lot of stream of consciousness writing and I invite people to bring mindfulness to the process. In other words, to pay attention, on purpose, to how you feel and what you experience as you write.

If you do this, you’ll notice what it feels like to naturally reach the end of a piece of writing, versus what it feels like to hit a block. When you come to the end of an idea and lift the pen off the page there is a feeling of satisfaction and completion. When you come to an abrupt halt mid flow that’s likely to mean that you’ve hit a block.

Perhaps your mind floats to a different subject for no reason, like all of a sudden you need a cup of tea and it just can’t wait until the end of the paragraph. Or maybe you’ve penned your way into a subject that you have some reticence to explore. Either way, you can use this question to turn that block into inspiration and learn something new about yourself or your character. 

Here are a few ways to use this writing prompt when you hit a block:

  1. Pause to notice the feelings and other sensations in your body and mind, then begin writing again, starting your sentence with ‘In this moment I am feeling/experiencing…
  2. Have a conversation with yourself. Write the question in words that you would use to vocalise it to someone else. That might be ‘What’s going on for you?’ or ‘How are you feeling?’ then don’t leave yourself hanging; answer the question right away. Imagine a friend asked you in conversation and write the answer as directly as you would speak it if they had. In a conversation you don’t pause to find the perfect grammar. You might say ‘Er, um, I’m not sure you know,’ and it’s ok to write those words here. Just. Keep. Writing. Whatever your experience is, it’s valid. Write it. ‘I feel frozen. I don’t know what to write next. This is making me uncomfortable. I’m going to go and put the kettle on.’ All great. Keep going.
  3. Notice that you just don’t want to answer and there is something else you need instead. If you’re experiencing challenging emotions, writing about them may not be the best thing for you in that moment.  Asking this question and bringing mindful awareness to the answer can help you to clarify that boundary and honour what really will nourish you.  

Dig deeper

As you write your answer to the initial question, look out for new places to ask it again. These openings will provide opportunity to dig deeper into your experience, or the experience of your character, and this is when things get really interesting.

Here’s an example from my own Soul Scripting practice:

What am I experiencing in this moment?

All I can focus on is the fact that my belly feels full because I just ate when I wasn’t even hungry.

How do you feel now, as you reflect on that?

I feel guilty. I wasted half an hour making food when I could have been writing and now I’ve overeaten.

What are you experiencing in this moment? What does ‘guilty’ feel like?

I have this kind of low level headache – tension across my forehead – and a feeling in my belly. That full feeling is what guilt feels like to me. I’ve always had this kind of messed up relationship with food, so now the feeling of satiated satisfaction is almost directly associated with guilt for me. That doesn’t feel good to admit but it does feel true and familiar. It brings memories to mind of plenty of other times when I felt this way. Now I’m angry as well. I think that’s what’s giving me headache. Can’t I just enjoy a sandwich?

What does it feel like to consider enjoying a sandwich?

And so the contemplation went on in this way (I’m pleased to say that this was a few years ago and I now have a much healthier relationship with food!).

Narrow your answers to focus on the physical sensations of the body as often as you can and watch them naturally expand again, like breath:

I feel guilty.

Guilty feels like a full stomach.

That full stomach is so familiar to me that now there are a hundred stories in my head of times when I’ve felt this before, or times when someone like me might feel this way.

A sensation in the body can operate like a familiar scent, opening up avenues that you didn’t even know where there. It can be expansive, transformative, hugely creative and challenging, so be sure to take care of yourself as you walk this path, even if you are using the writing prompt to explore fictional characters.

Show compassion

As in the above example, this line of questioning can lead you to explore some uncomfortable places. So it is super important to be kind to yourself. Explore only what you want to explore. If your experience becomes too intense, stop.

If you do go somewhere that feels a bit sore or sticky, pause from time to time and read your words back. As you do, imagine they are the words of someone you love. If this person wasn’t you – if it was a friend or family member experiencing these things – what would you say to them? Try to extend the same level of kindness and compassion to yourself.

You could also, from time to time, drop in the question, ‘What is this feeling asking for?’ or ‘What do I need?’

When you answer, be kind.

Compassion is an inherent part of mindfulness. It can be illuminating, interesting and transformative to pay this level of attention to ourselves but it can also get raw, so self-exploration of this nature is best done with a compassionate companion.

Before you begin discovering where this writing prompt can take you, decide to be that voice within yourself.

The mood changer – an anti-anxiety meditation

You can use this question to reduce feelings of anxiety, or to jump off any train of thought that you don’t want to ride. To do that, simply notice what you are experiencing outwardly rather than inwardly. Ask yourself what you can see, what you can feel on your skin, what sounds you can hear and any smells in the air. 

You can write the answers if that feels good, or simply reflect on the questions and pay attention to your surroundings.

Let me know how you get on.

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