Tip 16: Loosen Up

Bikram Choudhury (love him or loathe him) is the world’s most infamous yoga instructor who built a wildly successful business based on just 26 yoga postures. So what can Bikram yoga teach us about writing a book?

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”
J.D. Salinger

The point of going to a yoga class is to loosen up your body, let go and find the flow.

So you'd struggle if you didn't relax into it or resisted getting into a pose.

When you're rigid in your body, you feel tight and look awkward.

You fail to connect with yourself.

When you’re rigid in your writing, you sound tense and appear boring.

We fail to engage with you.

You’ve got to be fully present in the moment.

You’ve got to be who you are.

While, speaking out loud to an audience of 500 comes naturally to most of my clients, when they sit down to write a book, they battle to engage with just one.

Many of us, start writing to some pseudo character in our head – some kind of professor, academic or uptight boss.

The result is either verbal diarrhoea or it’s like reading an A to Z.

Your book is the stage and you are the storyteller.

You have to play out a conversation with your reader; visualise talking with a friend.

Even distinguished storyteller Brené Brown admits writing in this way does not come easily. As Elizabeth Gilbert explains in Big Magic:

She knew that when she spoke her ideas aloud, they flowed like a river. But when she tried to write those down, they cramped up inside her.

So Brené asked colleagues to come to her house and take detailed notes while she told them stories she wanted to share in one of her books.

This is how she captured the natural tone of her speaking voice.

So find your voice, your rhythm and your grace.

Embrace your wit and flair.

As one of my favourite books The Little Red Writing Book puts it:

‘Writing is the best kind of conversation you never heard.’

So get active in your posture; get active with your words.

Use ‘you’ and ‘I’ and ‘we’, like you’re speaking directly to me.

This is how you loosen your language.

This is how you loosen up and find your flow.

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Kelly Irving

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