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  • Writer's pictureMary Bergida DeLuca

The Highly Sensitive Writer's Compass: 4 Coordinates to Guide Your Energy

As Highly Sensitive People (HSP) we most often need to focus on "writing wisely”— rather than straining or doing "whatever it takes” to force words. For us, this means writing from a place of presence, self-knowledge, and compassion.

Pausing and examining our energy flow can make a significant difference when it comes to entering an intuitive writing rhythm.

Our energy is easily compromised in two ways: depletion and over-stimulation. While either kind of strain calls us to return to ourselves, one is more of an absence and the other an overabundance of stimuli.

Discovering our energy peak sets us up for success, for movement, for flow, for joy in the process, even in the tough times.

Here are a few "coordinates" that can help you understand and manage your flow, rather than trying to force it:

1. Gauge or Map Your Energy

  • Ask: When is my peak creative energy? (This intuitive peak may occur under different circumstances than physical or “left-brain” energy.)

What if I’m not sure when I experience peak energy?

Sometimes being aware of our energy depletion is more helpful.

  • Examine my week: On which days am I generally most drained or overstimulated?

  • Examine the moment: What, or who, are the situations, or people, that overstimulate me?

If we don’t take time to gauge our energy, we can just plug writing into the most “sensible” time slot in our schedule, not the most effective.

For some of my clients this mapping has led them to begin writing after work — tapping into the same joyful energy they use for unwinding or getting drinks with friends.

For others prime-time occurs either early or late in the day, when children sleep.

Still others find their rhythm by pacing their apartment, capturing scenes while the entire city sleeps.

Mapping our energy is a important first step, but some seasons find us a bit drained no matter the day or hour. How do we better approach writing in these times?

2. Create a Buffer or Recovery Space

Despite gauging our cycle, sometimes our energetic supply is still less than desirable. If we want to harness or restore our creative energy before writing, try fostering mico-rejuvenation.

As a writing warm-up, allow yourself one of the following:

  • Nap (or just lie down)

  • Take a Walk

  • Do “morning pages” or a journal dump

  • Sit in Stillness (perhaps with a cup of tea and music that re-centers you)

  • Take a Bath

  • Ground (this can be via a meditation or just physically putting your feet on the earth/grass for 5-10 minutes.)

Choosing a rejuvenation or self-care practice as pre-writing doesn’t have to take long, especially if your time is limited. Just add something small and the benefits will make the investment worth it.

3. Implement your Plan

Using the self-knowledge you gathered from the above lists, plan out your writing time:

  • Choose a good day and/or time

  • Include a useful recovery (even if just for 5 minutes)

For several years, I wrote on days I didn’t teach or meet with clients — because while I love these interactions, they max out my capacity for stimulation on a given day. The timing was also important. I had the luxury to write first in the day, creating a buffer by never checking my phone or email before I wrote, which kept me in an intuitive, rather than problem-solving, space.

More recently, with the birth of my son, I've had to reassess my flow and update my personal expectations. I'm learning my new energy pattern as I continue to pursue writing.

4. Be Compassionate & Gentle with Yourself

Sometimes life happens beyond our control: poor sleep, parental demands, overarching life-circumstances. If you want to write from a posture of kindness, don’t be harsh with yourself if you don’t have much time or energy to write.

Being hard on ourselves cuts us off from our nurturing qualities which are so essential to writing any full-hearted story.

However, we can still be present to our writing in times of depletion or

when the words won’t flow.

Try “showing up" even if for 5 minutes, by engaging one of the following:

  • Dialogue” with your piece. Reassure it: “Dear one, I’m still here, just exhausted and depleted today.”

  • Listen to music: perhaps a piece that feels like a soundtrack to what you are writing.

  • Research. While research can sometime turn into a self-sabotage for a piece, when we have nothing new flowing through us, research can prime the pump for the time energy returns.

  • Look at images that remind you of/relate to your project. (I love paging through books of historical illustrations.)

  • Create a short list of “Why" I love this project/piece.

Sometimes when writing is hard or life overwhelms, that snarly little voice in my head says: “You can’t say you are a writer if you aren’t writing.” To that, I’ve learned to respond: “If I remain open to, in dialogue with, and committed to this story, I AM a Writer.”

We may have to navigate both good and not-so-optimal writing terrain, but when we are aware of our writing energy and have decided we aren’t going anywhere, we remain oriented to receive our story. And in turn, the piece that wants to be written through us, will not abandon us either.


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