This blog is inspired by portions of the Instagram live Chakra Chat, in which Jaclyn and Alyssa from DeVore Editorial discuss using the chakra system for character development, writer self-care, and work-in-progress guidance.
Does your writing practice make space for self-care? Is your first draft in need of a refresh? The chakra system can help! Learn what it is and how to use it to approach your current challenges from a new (or ancient?) angle.
Q: What should writers know about the chakra system?
A: By identifying their imbalances and addressing them through chakra-specific activities, writers can work through challenges they may have with character development, manuscript improvement, or writing routine refinement. We each have three lower chakras and three upper chakras with a heart chakra in the center. The hands are an extension of the heart chakra, so many writers and creatives who use their hands to make art tend to get stuck in the upper chakras. In this model of thinking, there’s a cyclical flow of energy that moves in two directions. There’s energy that moves up and energy that moves down, and these two flows connect the upper and lower chakras. If you tend to work in your upper chakras most as an overthinker or daydreamer—someone who’s always writing stories in your head—your struggle might be to bring this energy back down through the lower chakras, into the physical world, and onto the page.
Q: How can chakras help fiction writers?
A: As a fiction writer, you might begin to think deeply about the psychology of your characters. Let’s say someone is dealing with shame. With them, you can explore what the second chakra has to offer because one sign of an imbalanced second chakra is shame, which also links to pleasure and flexibility and is located below the navel and around the hips. To show how this shame manifests in your character, you can give them tight hips or a characteristic walk that physically reflects the tightness from a troubled second chakra. Readers won’t necessarily consciously observe these traits to identify a second chakra imbalance, but through this careful consideration of traits, you’re creating a depth to your character with intention that adds value to the work as a whole.
Because this system of thinking about the mind and body has been around for so long, we can think of it as being ingrained in the collective consciousness. So whether or not your readers are well-versed in the chakras and what they represent, they will still experience your characters on a deeper level because you’ve thought about the mind-body connection and how that manifests in them.
Q: How do chakras power a consistent writing practice?
A: As writers, we tend to think that we need to focus most of our energy on plot and sentence structure, which will carry us along through our work and fend off any writer’s block. But while there is a place for all of these on-page tactics, there’s also a place for enjoying what you do and cultivating healthy off-page practices. Good writing is about moving a sensory experience into words and onto the page, allowing readers to translate what you’ve written into their own interpretation of a sensory experience. To create this experience, you need to immerse yourself in all of your senses, which is a very lower-chakras activity. When you have ideas that you’re unable to get on the page or you feel uninspired, incorporating sensory activities into your writing routine can help you get un-stuck. Try immersing yourself in nature by going for a walk or moving your body in other ways to shake up your lower chakras, which are associated with earth, water, and fire—elements that are all about grounding, discipline, and flow.
Dealing with writer’s block? Take it as a sign that you need to work on your self-care.
Important Chakras for Writers to Know
Heart Chakra: Deals with love, emotions, and balance
“I’m not sure what to write about.”
“I feel overwhelmed by what I’ve written.”
Writing flows when we write from the heart. Many writers write what they know, and part of that means exploring personal emotions and experiences through their work. Practice free-flow writing, keep a journal, and take time to heal when deep emotions come up as you write. It’s common, and more importantly, it’s okay. Make an effort to connect with yourself, your friends and family, and the writing and editing community to feel safe, loved, and supported.
Solar Plexus Chakra: Deals with willpower, ego, and discipline
“I can’t find time to write right now.”
“I have a hard time sticking to a writing schedule.”
Work on acknowledging your will and drive in accomplishing your writing goals. Assess the level of commitment you have for your craft and take steps to prove your passion to yourself and your readers by showing up again and again to your writing practice and remembering your writing “why.” Dedicate time to brainstorm, write, edit, and learn new techniques at a frequency that’s right for you to stay motivated.
Throat Chakra: Deals with self-expression, communication, and truth
“I don’t feel like a writer.”
“I can’t seem to get the story in my head out onto the page.”
Be compassionate and gentle enough with yourself to find ways to approach the common challenges of being a writer with optimism. Putting ideas into words and sharing those words with others can make new writers and seasoned authors feel uneasy. Take comfort in knowing others have walked your path and seek useful tips on how to share your truth effectively so you can call yourself a writer with confidence.
Still have questions? Contact the editors at DeVore Editorial to learn more or sign up for Wellness for the Modern Writer: Where Creativity Meets Self-Care, a new workshop that uses the chakra system to help create a deeper connection between writers and their work.