After leaving IBM in May, I started a blog — mainly to tell my family and friends about my new life.
I enthusiastically wrote my first piece “Education for Grown Ups: Learning Micro-fields with An Intellectual Guide”, showed it to my writer friends, and asked for their reactions.
“Your writing sounds like corporate IBM speaking!” “Where is Lilian in the piece?” I was shocked and carefully pointed out all the I’s. But no one seemed impressed. Never having taken a writing class I was quite puzzled by the phrase that kept coming up “You need to find your voice.” What could this possibly mean?
I decided to try an experimental writing and coaching workshop — the “Inner Child Writing Camp” being developed by life coach Betty Ming Liu, a former journalist who teaches writing and journalism at the New School and NYU in New York city. In addition to me, two women (one in Germany and one in New York) signed up. We met on Zoom over five Thursdays, each class lasting 3 hours.
I emerged from this workshop more open to looking within my emotions and to examining them with my life experiences. Writing has become more intuitive and less ponderous, closer to speaking, and a lot more fun.
This workshop moved through foundational writing skills. We used photographs of ourselves to emotionally go back to different times in our lives. We did exercises to explore who we were in the pictures. And we wrote short pieces about events in our child’s lives — starting with writing a letter from our grown up self to our baby self.
Then something unexpected happened. Looking at photographs and writing about events that happened to me as a child, I started to relive my child self, feelings emotions and experiencing meaningful events and relationships from that time.
Our teacher/coach asked questions. I looked within my emotions and thoughts and examined them with my adult life experiences.* I learned to speak and write with more clarity of thought and feeling. I have more courage. I began to find my voice.
I am impressed with the power of this writing and coaching workshop and welcome your comments on your experience taking writing classes and workshops. I also welcome your take on how writing can change a person’s self awareness and perspective.
*This writing and coaching workshop focused on moving forward. At times it was therapeutic and was always energizing. It helped me gain new perspectives on what happened in the past and grow — others had a similar experience.