Writing from the Heart

Before you dismiss the idea that the language of the heart is just another sticky sentiment like those expressed in many valentines, think again. Did you know that the heart’s electromagnetic field is actually 5,000 times stronger than that of the brain or that it can be detected between five and ten feet away?

Research conducted by neuro-cardiologists shows that our hearts actually perceive and transmit information in much the same way that our brains do. In fact, our hearts and brains dialog.

Our hearts speak to us through electrical impulses, pressure waves and hormones. These heart hormones open us to intuition and enable us to feel empathy for others and to care. We read others with our hearts, taking their measure against our own heart-felt values. Our hearts actively seek ways for us to learn and grow. They not only influence how we perceive the world, but how we respond to it through our emotions and actions.

By no coincidence, the human vocabulary is filled with expressions, such as:

  • Broken-hearted,
  • Change of heart,
  • Chicken-hearted,
  • All heart,
  • Take heart
  • Hard-hearted,
  • Open-hearted,
  • Tender-hearted, and
  • Half-hearted.

Obviously, our brains aren’t the only organs we engage when we set words on paper. If as writers, our goal is to touch the hearts of readers, we need to involve our own hearts in the process. When we write half-heartedly, we cheat ourselves as well as our readers.

Creative Write:

An effective technique for tuning into your heart-mind is to consciously shift your awareness to your heart while intentionally holding positive and sincere feelings. Take some quiet time to focus on you heart and search it for the emotions and qualities you find there. Make a list of what you discover. Begin writing about one of the items on your list, letting your heart be your guide, rather than your brain. After a few minutes of this, stop and reflect on how the process felt. How is your writer’s heart-voice different from the one that usually emerges when you write?

Resources:

Before you send that SASE to individual editors for writers’ guidelines, check the Internet first. Most magazines have websites and post guidelines for writers to those sites. In addition, several sites post collections of guidelines.

My favorites are:

Writers’ Database (http://writersdatabase.com/ ) This free database contains guidelines for over 1,000 magazines.

Writers Write (http://www.writerswrite.com/guidelines/) Over 650 guidelines are posted here.

Writers Digest (http://www.writersdigest.com/guidelines/) Guidelines in this free database include both magazine and book publishers.

Request:

I am pulling together information for a project on writing through grief. If you have experiences keeping a grief journal or know of resources that you would be willing to share with me, please email me. I need your input.