Many times in life, I have invalidated my creative self. Being a writer or an artist always seemed impractical by comparison, and the looming sense of inadequacy surely didn’t help. But eventually, I surrendered to the current that kept pulling me back into the creative world, and I have since found ways to create while having a meaningful impact—both in the world and within myself.
One of these ways is writing amongst women.
Writing is an irreplaceable vessel of expression, communication, and manifestation. A vessel through which we have the opportunity to discover, cultivate, and empower. To me, writing well isn’t just about proper grammar, style, and structure; but also about understanding and expanding emotion, creativity, and connection. It is about the whispers between the lines, and about sometimes letting the words fall from our hearts rather than calculating them with our minds.
As a woman, I’ve found that writing amongst women uniquely deepens this practice. Though, I’ll admit to having done it only twice—once several years ago at a weekend retreat and again just recently at an afternoon workshop. It is truly magical to be surrounded by the dynamic and diverse female spirit in a space that feels both gentle and curious. In a space filled with practices that are both grounding and liberating, and where literal listening occurs at its finest.
The most recent workshop I attended—hosted by Women Writing for (a) Change—focused on moon phases and how our female cycles and energies might align with them. We read “Meditations on the Moon” by Paula Gunn Allen and some of her words resonated with me:
The moon moves along the sky by her own willing. It is her nature to shed some light, sometimes to be full and close, heavy with unborn thought on rising. It is her nature sometimes to wander in some distant place, hidden, absent, gone.
At the end of the workshop, we selected one of our free-writes to share with the group. Mine was inspired by the words above. Then, while sitting in a circle, we read back captivating phrases from each other’s writings, one after the other, with little pause. Strung together, it was the sound of a woman’s heart, and it was beautiful.
While I now define myself as a writer and artist, there are still moments of insecurity. But I’ve found that these moments occur more often in solitude than in the honest and vulnerable community of other creatives. In coming together and sharing the process of expression and creation, we are reminded that messiness always comes before refinement. And in doing this amongst other women, we develop a necessary—and very much practical—curiosity and compassion for ourselves by seeing our own truths in others.