How to Effectively Use Reflection in your WritingNov 24, 2021
In our last post, Zoë Meggert, marketing coach and founder of Perfectly Planned Content, explained how to utilize existing blog content within your marketing funnel. This net post is provided by Lauren Keller, Director of Content Writing & Strategy for Perfectly Planned Content.
Words hold the power to spark emotion, community, and oneness which has inspired my writing for the last 5 years. As a professional writer and content specialist, I bring stories to life in new and interesting ways every day. In everything I do, my goal is to inspire.
Reflection permeates space in our minds and encourages active thought, imagination, and contextualization of the many moving pieces around us. 2020 has been many things: extraordinary, frustrating, scary, momentous, and, no doubt, many others.
It’s no wonder that we all cope and process these shifts in waves. Whenever you experience a profound moment in your life, whether positive or negative, it is essential to think about what that moment meant to you, and reflection is an excellent tool to facilitate those thoughts.
By reflecting on an event or experience, you not only have the opportunity to digest your personal thoughts and feelings but also how those experiences relate to the situation at large, as well as others around you.
Reflective writing is a powerful tool, one that promotes transparency and authenticity. You can use reflection to process an event while bringing your unique expertise and experience to any circumstance.
How can you bring reflection into your writing process? Here are a few ideas to consider.
Reflective writing shouldn’t just be a compilation of all your thoughts and reactions to a given set of events. Instead, it asks that you analyze a situation from multiple vantage points, infusing your opinion with other experiences. Here are three elements any piece of reflective writing should have,
On the surface, these ideas might seem relatively similar, but they each ask you to think about an event from a different perspective. Your experience with something is the way it impacted you and how you feel about it. This section is quite personal and asks you to think about your relationship to the event.
Observation is more objective. Ask yourself,
- What are the facts?
- How does the situation look from a third-party point of view?
- How can you distinguish the emotion you feel from the situation itself?
These questions can help you refine your view and provide a richer context.
The opinion is your relationship with the situation. What do you think about it? How does it influence and impact your life and the lives of others? While your opinion is personal, it asks you to look at your experience and observations in tandem.
These three elements, experience, observation, and opinion bring intention and purpose to reflective writing.
Take your Time
You can’t process every emotion in the hour or so it takes you to write a blog post. Give yourself time to jot down your thoughts without the constraint of organization or coherency. Freewriting is a great exercise to practice reflection because you aren’t censoring yourself or your ideas. You aren’t trying to make meaning out of anything, not yet. You are merely expressing your main insights on paper.
Once you wring your fingers dry, take some time to reread what you wrote.
- Did any of your thoughts surprise you?
- Does seeing it again force you to question your motivations?
- Do your impressions spark any other ideas?
Reflective writing is all about giving yourself the time and space to communicate with yourself. How often do you listen to what you are thinking or feeling? Way too regularly, we push our emotions to the side or compartmentalize and move on with our days. But that leads to staring at the ceiling fan and counting sheep well into the night.
Processing your emotions through reflective writing can bring peace of mind and a medium to engage with substantial moments in your life critically.
Once you start looking, there are more connectors than dividers. By actively reflecting on an event, you can draw parallels, form connections, and expand the way you approach it.
Reflecting on an event can reveal that you aren’t alone and can help you see something from a different lens.
In general, writing is all about making connections. You have to connect your main idea to numerous subpoints and eventually lead your reader to the conclusion, cogently detailing how each of these elements interacts with each other.
Use your Interpretation
Not everyone looks at events in the same way. While there may be some overlap, there is value to the way that you look at something. Interpretation is a crucial part of our society; even our laws are up to interpretation.
The way you view an event, topic, etc. is valuable and can make a difference to the people around you. Your audience wants to hear how you look at the people, places, and things that affect them.
In financial planning, your clients need that unique viewpoint; it’s how you help them mold their financial lives. The way you interpret markets, legislation, and financial trends all play into the way you work with clients and help structure their lives.
Write from the Heart
Writing is personal. A piece of writing that displays personality and passion is a thousand times better than something that misses those crucial elements. Why? The main reason is that emotion connects people.
You are passionate about your business, and that leads to putting in the work to creating something your customers will also be excited about. When you see someone in their element, you are drawn to that person. Writing can do the same thing.
Think about the last book you read or article you browsed. What kept you reading until the last word? It was probably the way the author communicated their message to you. Something about the style, tone, and message spoke to you and kept you interested.
With all the ups and downs that this year has brought, we all need some time for quiet reflection. While it can be challenging to find peace during the holiday season, take some time even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes for yourself to reflect. Reflect on the changes, challenges, and adventures that this year has brought, and all that is still left to come.
You never know what you can uncover.
During this post, Lauren Keller, Director of Content Writing & Strategy for Perfectly Planned Content, explained how to effectively use reflection in your writing. She detailed useful tips on being intentional, deliberate and genuine in your writing.
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