As we prepare to launch our new Yoga for Writers course PWA director Susy Marriott talks to course David Holzer about how the course will help writers – both physically and mentally – to work more productively.-> Read more
Susy Marriott – Hi, I’m Susy Marriott, director of Professional Writing Academy. I’m with David Holzer, course director of Yoga for Writers, a new online course from Professional Writing Academy.
David Holzer – Hello!
SM – Hi David. So, how can yoga benefit writers?
DH – In lots of ways, including the very obvious physical benefits – that it will teach you to sit better, a way to look after your body more effectively – but it will also, surprisingly, enable you to access where you creativity comes from, and with rather more regularity. It’s no longer such a hit-and-miss process, in my experience. When I first started writing seriously, somebody said to me ‘one of the beautiful things about writing is that you realise nobody sees the world quite the way you do’. And that, I think, is the most overwhelming benefit, because you get the same sort of realisation through yoga. You can’t copy other people when you do yoga – you have to make the practice your own. When you’re on your mat – and it’s kind of the same when you’re on your keyboard – there’s nowhere to hide. There’s just you.
SM – So, yoga can help you find your writer’s voice?
DH – Well, you have to learn to trust your own judgement. In my own experience one of the hardest things is finding your voice as a writer. If you listen to other people, you get lost very easily, and if you try to copy beautiful yoga, textbook-perfectly, you’re going to get lost. For example, if you’re large and you’re trying to copy a tiny person, you’re going to get lost because your arms are a different length. You have to make it your own to really enjoy the benefits.
SM – So, what kind of writer is this new course for?
DH – I would say any kind of writer, from a beginning writer to a professional writer, who’s looking for anything from a way to stay healthier to discovering where their writing comes from. It could also be for a business writer who simply needs to write better presentations, and to get more of a handle on them. It’s really for any kind of writer at any level.
SM – A lot of people feel stuck with their writing. They might be halfway through a novel and not know where to take it next. Can yoga help with that?
DH – Absolutely. This is because it teaches you to see writing as a set of smaller steps. For example, with the practice that I’ve developed, you’re setting your writing intention, but you’re not setting your writing intention for the whole project. You’re setting it for that day. It could be something like ‘I want to write 500 words’, ‘I want to get better at characterisation’, or ‘this piece of dialogue is giving me a problem, I want to come out of my yoga sequence and have an answer’. I think for so many of us who write, what throws us somewhat is looking at the big picture, in too big of a way.
SM – How experienced at yoga do I need to be in order to take the course?
DH – You don’t – simple as that.
SM – So a complete beginner will be able to benefit from the course?
DH – Definitely. We’ve taken great care to suggest the kind of props people will use. All of the poses in the sequence are very straightforward – what’s different is how they’ve been put together.
SM – What will I take away from the course?
DH – You’ll take away a regular, daily yoga practice which you can build on however you wish. Through developing this yoga practice you’ll inevitably develop the kind of discipline you need to write. It’s one thing writing, but it’s another thing writing every day. And, you’ll have – in my experience, anyway – a surefire way to overcome writer’s block.
SM – Thanks David, we’re very excited about this course!
DH – Thank you, Susy!
David Holzer has been a professional writer for most of his working life. He is the author of 17 books on subjects as diverse as the history of the Martini and how to create a Zen garden, and has teamed up with Professional Writing Academy to create a revolutionary online course which explores how practicing yoga not only helps you maintain a healthy body, but can improve your writing.