Writing from the Body: For Writers, Artists, and Dreamers Who Long to Free Their Voice

Yet if I were asked to name the most important items in a writer’s makeup, the things that shape his material and rush him along the road to where he wants to go, I could only warn him to look to his zest, see to his gusto.

– Ray Bradbury – Zen in the Art of Writing

I’ve been teaching, coaching, and counseling new and seasoned writers for over three decades. It has long been one of my favorite things to do – to help writers get their words whirling in their heads and on to the blank page. I know how hard it can be. I wrote six drafts of the first chapter of my best-selling book, The Flying Boy: Healing the Wounded Man, before I got out the seventh one, which thank God it worked. Why was it so hard? Because I couldn’t get out of my head. I couldn’t stop imitating my favorite authors. I had to come to terms with “who do I think I am to write a book?” I couldn’t get past the fear of what people I loved might think if I told the truth about my life. Now 23 books later—novel, poetry, self-help, memoirs, screen plays, non-fiction – it still can be hard, but I’ve helped more than a few writers and dreamers over the years because I’ve learned a few things like:

The call to write is a call that’s received in the body first. If we are to answer the call, we have to feel every part of our lives. In order to write and write well we must get out of our heads. For everyone who is tired of living life in the little closet between the ears, call and set up a time to get to work and get to writing.

If we are to answer that call, the desire and dreams to write, we have to be able to feel every part of our lives. A writer can’t afford to walk numbly through the house with a blanket over the head. When the lover steps, dripping from the shower and bends to dry herself, the writer’s eye takes in the droplets as they fall to the floor, and the fire of creativity is ignited: the little spheres of light encased in the water, the gently sloping curve from hairline to ankle, her hands as they guide the cloth over her skin. Let others drink life from a tiny cup! Face plunged in this ocean, the writer reaches deeply with every pore, not just to taste, but to merge with that greater Body, to experience the larger Self. To live like that, and to write from that truth, we have to radically reclaim and renew the body.

For hundreds of years poets and writers have described the creative process as a physical urgency, a sense that things will fly apart if they don’t get the pencil to the page in time. Creativity is not tidy or polite – it’s insistent. It calls us to feel, not dimly, not safely, but wildly, passionately, in every cell and fiber.

I needed a lot of help to discover my own body of writing. Most people need help to experience your physical self as an endless creative well from which to draw amazing drink, regardless of your age, writing experience, or educational background, you can do this.

Thank you for reading and for your support.

John Lee

Call or email to schedule an appointment to work with John 678-494-1296 or john@johnleebooks.com