Learning to listen

How Learning to Listen Develops Your Writing

Step Into Your Story develops listening skills

Writing is about communication, about sharing our words with others who hear the message and the intention behind our words. Developing strong listening skills is critical for anyone’s growth as a writer. In fact, Natalie Goldberg, in her book Writing Down the Bones, states:

“Listening is receptivity. The deeper you can listen, the better you can write. You take in the way things are without judgment, and the next day you can write the truth about the way things are.”

(Writing Down the Bones, pg. 53)

I only offer my entry-level writing program, Step Into Your Story, once a year! I’ve designed this program to help you develop strong listening skills that will propel your writing to the next level. With some gentle guidance, everyone is invited to read their words aloud within a supportive group, beginning with what they recall from the reading. Nothing else, no judgment. This practice of “recall” is the foundation for responding to each others’ words, and we grow this practice throughout the five-week series. The next Step Into Your Story course begins on Tuesday, May 3rd.

Having your words received with no judgment builds your confidence as a writer. In this space, there’s no reason to feel “less than” or “better than” any other participant; everyone’s words are received in the same way. Let your voice be heard. Let your words land on receptive ears. For many people in my writing circles, this is the first time they truly feel heard. Hearing from others in the circle also helps to counteract the inner critical voices, the ones that sometimes tell us our writing is weak, or that we have nothing to say.

I remember how it felt to read aloud in a group for the first time. Terrified. And I remember how it felt to have others in the group respond in a way that made my feel they understood what I wanted to say. Amazed. Having consistent structured feedback and support allowed me to complete and publish my memoir. I’m convinced that without my trusted writing group, I wouldn’t have achieved my dream of publishing a book.

When we write together and read aloud to a non-judgmental audience, we complete the circle of communication. Listening skills and confidence develop each time participants choose to read their fresh writing aloud, while the listeners remain attentive to the words. The first step of reading aloud without receiving any verbal feedback is an important experience for anyone who may have never shared their words out loud before.

Feeling seen and heard is important to each one of us. Being heard and knowing that your words matter is a life-transforming experience. During Step Into Your Story, you’ll notice how your writing gets stronger, feel your confidence grow when you write and share in a supported circle.

“Marie opens up the world of writing in a very gentle way. In her programs I’ve learned both trust and confidence. To have a group of people from all walks of life reflect what stands out for them in my writing is a very cool experience. I feel understood and hopeful. It makes me want to continue writing and sharing my words.”

Yvonne Winkler
Creatively Yours,
Image of Marie leaning against a pillar holding a coffee cup


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Cover of the Writing Feedback Guidebook on an ipad

The Writing Feedback Guidebook

How to Ask For & Receive Helpful, Supportive Feedback on Your Writing

Not all writing reviewers are created equal! When you hand your carefully crafted pages to someone to provide feedback, the result is often unhelpful & at worst, can be crushing. This FREE guide will help you choose insightful, supportive readers. It will also teach you how to ask for what you need and want from them to continue honing your writing with confidence.