Writing as embodiment

the act of writing—whether it is by hand or on a keyboard—moves thought, feeling, and emotion through the mind/body and onto the page

59, “Your Brain on Ink”


t’s better to write on a keyboard than to not write at all, and your intention, attention, and action are collectively more important than your choice of writing methods. However, the brain gets more of a work-out when you are writing by hand.

(p. 78).

Men usually feel much more comfortable typing than writing by hand.

Meaning of reflective writing

There is growing evidence that resolution of trauma (or its smaller cousin, stress) requires somatic (body) involvement. The reflection write develops the habit of checking in with the embodied experience of writing, a good gauge of how your nervous system is processing the writing.

(p. 45).

When you are present to what emerges on the page by reading what you have just written and writing a few sentences about what you notice, you are developing an observational part of your brain. You are gaining separation from the write itself and taking note of both the process of writing as well as any insights that the writing yielded. What happened in my body as I wrote? Did my handwriting change? Was there a smile on my face or tears in my eyes? Were there any “aha” moments? Paying attention, cultivating curiosity and noticing what emerges as a function of the process of writing is similar to meditation practices that cultivate concentration and invite insight.

(pp. 45-46).

The reflection write is the consummate expressive writing tool for focused attention.

(p. 46).

The reflection write is an exercise in the process of paying attention, particularly if curiosity and compassion are brought to that process. Reflection supports the process of choosing to fire circuits that over time will change our brains in service of greater healing—and, likely, the authorship of a more integrated, coherent story.

(pp. 46-48).

from “Your Brain on Ink”

Embodiment in reflective writing

What did I notice in my body as I was writing? […] When you write, your mind can be scanning/projecting into the future or reviewing/ruminating about the past. Your body, however, is in real time. Tracking the embodied experience of writing helps you stay grounded in the present moment.

(p. 45).

from “Your Brain on Ink”